I am in London.
So you know all those posts on Facebook like this:
Yeah, they suck.
The reason is they tell a half truth and they do it in a kitch, cheesy, sentamentalised way.
I think a lot of people see these sorts of messages as motivational or inspiring because, well, life can be boring sometimes and so this must mean I am wasting my life away. The conclusion, take life by the horns and quit my job! Sail off to a foreign country and backpack through Peru!
The reason I feel strongly about this is because I fall into this way of thinking often.
But I learn over and over that there is nothing on Earth that can make me happy.
Nothing makes me happy.
Yes, nothing. If I stop expecting, stop desiring, stop coveting and just be, then I start to touch freedom.
This is a message preached by many religions including Christianity but it is an extremely difficult attitude to adopt, especially in today’s world.
Just be. If what made us content was just being, imagine that peace? Sitting in the office, in traffic, on a long journey, content with who I am and what I am and everything that is around me.
Now I don’t believe that we can’t enjoy material things, they just mustn’t be the end goal.
A year ago I was in London and this city nearly killed me. A lot of the factors were out of my control, but one of my biggest stresses was that I felt like I wasn’t maximizing my time here. This put a weight on my shoulders. Where was the adventure? I was just me living somewhere else.
There was no epiphany or magical moment. There was growth, yes, but that happens when we are open to change, and change doesn’t always need to be continents apart.
And here I am, a year later, back in London. This time, with a much healthier attitude. I am planning to travel a bit and then return to Cape Town but I am consciously making the effort to drop any expectations I may have and let things be what they are. I cannot “craft” the life I want. Life is not a fine art, it is more of a Pollock painting.
The more you think about it, the worse you make things.
Perhaps this is what is meant by “the Art of Living” – to stop trying so hard, and to just be.