You Forget That Your Life Belongs to You — That’s Why You’re Frustrated
My father likes to tell us the following story because it shows that the value of things is proportional to their finitude.
When he was younger, he did a culinary apprenticeship. In the kitchen where he worked, there happened to be hundreds of pastries every day. Croissants, pain au chocolat… France, you know. It was terribly appetizing. The first day, the chef said to him: “Guillaume, feel free to take and eat everything you want.”
These golden wonders were so tempting, with their thin crust and the delicious warm smell coming out of the oven, that my father happily ate several croissants on the first day. On the second day, he ate a little less. And on the third day a little less again.
From the fourth day on, he no longer touched a single croissant. The supply was infinite. The attraction of rarity had disappeared. He had lost all interest in pastries.
In less than 100 years, you won’t be here anymore. Let that sink in.
The beauty and preciosity of life lie in its finiteness. We don’t have forever. And even worse, we never know how many days we have left.
That should be enough to wake you up and make you take charge of your life. Except for some obscure reason, it’s not. I’ve always been amazed at the ability of people to settle for existing when they could live.
I do say “people”. For once, I am not including myself. Because every day of my life I try to get the best out of it. I keep trying things just to see if they suit the way I want to live my life. I’ve tried different lifestyles, different jobs, different ways of eating, thinking, exercising. And I’m far from done experimenting. Every day I try to get closer to the person I really am. Every day, I make the most of being alive.
Have you ever thought about your chances of being born? They were tiny. Now you are here, on a blue globe floating in the void, full of amazing phenomena such as sunrise and sunset, waves, animals, food, and you don’t even see all these wonders anymore. These incredible things are the new normals. You take them for granted.
The common way of life should be torn to pieces. For life is to be lived.
You act as if things were pre-written and out of your control.
One of the main problems in this world is the way work is seen. Weeks are separated into two parts: life and not life. The weekend, and the weekdays. That shouldn’t exist. We don’t have forever, remember? So why stay in an occupation that doesn’t make you want to wake up in the morning?
I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t have a choice. I need money”. Except that you do. Some of my friends are far from being born with a silver spoon in their mouth, and they’ve managed to find the balance. It’s just about what you take under your control. I guarantee you that your reality is expandable to whatever you want it to be.
Don’t like your work? Change it.
Don’t like your routine? Change it.
Don’t like anything? Change it.
You have the power to change everything. That gives you full responsibility for your life. For your happiness. Take responsibility and free yourself.
I’ve tried many different jobs in my life. I’ve done internships. I have worked in journalism, I have written for magazines. I have worked in the content production industry. I have worked in catering. I even took a job as a waitress, just because I was curious about it.
Twice I was offered very well-paid contracts. But after trying, I realized that the nature of the work didn’t make me happy. So I left. It wasn’t always easy. But my life is too short to waste it in exchange for money.
You act as if your dreams could wait for another life.
Don’t you have any dreams? Some things that put sparks in your stomach? Don’t make me believe you’re empty. You’re not. You’ve just anesthetized all your dreams because you think none of them are reasonable. You’re keeping them warm for another life. I hope for your sake that there will be one.
You don’t realize how magical it is to be alive. The world is your playground. Make every dream come true.
Maybe you have too high expectations for unimportant things, like having that job position or earning your first million. And too low expectations about the things that make life great. Moments of joy. Your loved ones. Travelling. Creating.
The common way of life was dictated years ago, when reality was different. And since then, people have just followed their predecessors, without question, because they were told that this is how things should be. Going to school. Studying. Climbing the ladder of work. Having children, a house, a dog, and looking forward to retirement.
The truth is that each member of the crowd is too lazy to look up and realize that people are following each other. And that they too are in line.
There is a beaten path. The grass no longer grows because of the number of times it is trodden every day. Whereas in reality, everyone should choose the path next door. It’s like a jungle. It takes a machete, strength, courage, effort. But the reward is exhilarating.
In 100 years, you won’t be here anymore. Why follow the crowd when you can create your own tailor-made happiness? Your life? I’m asking you the question, really.
Take a moment to think about all this, if you wish. And I can only encourage you to look deep down inside yourself for your buried dreams and to find solutions to make them come true. I’m not talking about leaving everything behind and starting all over again. I’m just talking about realizing that this is your life and that its shape is malleable.
All it takes is a commitment and a small daily step towards the chosen destination.