Life is not a porcelain vase
I have the feeling most people in the West perceive life as something they need to carefully design, build and decorate. It’s like working on something external and being strictly result-oriented believing the building process is a hard work. It’s like working on creation of a porcelain vase.
First they design what kind of vase they want to so they have a certain image of life they want. Every job, study and course should contribute to building the vase and making it more beautiful & complete. They are working on a masterpiece, only there is one problem — this masterpiece is often external. It’s like a shell that people see themselves from outside. The problem arises already in the first phase — the design phase is faulty!
The image of life they have in the first place is often not authentic and does not belong to them. It usually belongs to our parents who tell us what we should do when we grow up or they transfer their values to us speechlessly. Or it’s the image that belongs to our society that tells us what kind of people or professions are successful and respected. And who wouldn’t want to be respected and successful? So we start building the vase already wrong, the design sketches are faulty. The foundation is not aligned with our true self.
Then we go on crafting and decorating the vase, our life. Having a respectful job, enough money, beautiful house, expensive car and a certain lifestyle. Having these things put us in a certain category, a box where other people see us. And we also see ourselves in that box; a social ranking that should tell how well we are doing in life. How well we are crafting & decorating our beautiful vase that everyone, including ourselves, can admire.
It can be that along the decorating process we discover the paint we are using is not of a right color or maybe even something way scarier — the design of the vase is not what we like. It’s not easy to discover this has happened and it’s even harder to admit and accept it. Few make it that far. But it takes a real courage to destroy the vase and start all over. We have put so much time, energy and often also money to build that one vase, maybe we don’t have to break the existing vase after all?? But the fact is you can try to modify the existing craft, but it’s still the old craft. It still has the old design and you can see the old paint through the new one you desperately tried to cover it with.
In the real world it translates itself into people not daring to quit their jobs that bore them to death and start studying something they always wanted to study; or break up from a relationship that feels like an obligation while they are longing for freedom and solitude to evolve spiritually.; or sell a house that feels like a burden and become a travelling musician like they have dreamt in their youth. Few of them find the courage to break the beautiful-looking existing vase and start again. Although they know the existing vase has already cracks in it.
What if I told you that life is NOT a porcelain vase you carefully need to design, build and decorate? And there is no such thing as breaking the vase and starting ‘all over again’. If this was true, life would be a linear rising line on a graph (x-axis being time, y-axis the rate of success, a mysterious value defined by unknown factors?!) and when choosing another lifestyle would mean the y-value of this linear line would drop. The y-value can drop only then if the rate of success was purely defined by your material possessions. And even then, changing your lifestyle doesn’t have to be accompanied by decrease in the resources. So, life is not a linear line. Life is simply a large amount of moments united together.
Life is also not a vase competition to see who has the prettiest one to put on the shelf for admiration for other people. There it would stand, collect dust, get bleached by the sun, get old and enjoy these scarce moments of admiration when someone passes by.
Okay, if it’s not a vase, what is it then? I will tell you how I see this. Life is a moment, right now, right here. If you are enjoying yourself in this moment, you are enjoying life. You are alive. Life is not what you have as one of the possessions that you need to embellish. If you are not enjoying yourself in this moment, follow your gut feeling and do what you think you would enjoy. Don’t be afraid to change things, to throw things upside down and make 360-degree moves towards what you think will make you enjoy being alive. And if it turns out that this is not what you enjoy after all, fuck it and change it. Do anything to keep the feeling of being alive, keep your vitality, your enthusiasm and childlike spark in your eyes. Life is not a porcelain vase you need to protect and maintain. It’s not important that other people think your CV looks irrational or illogical. It’s about you feeling the world is your playground and you are enjoying every breath in this short time you are here.