by Arielle Illia
Pursuit to Living
Think about that word for a minute.
Take a moment to think about what you are doing at this very instant.
Look around you, what do you see? What can you hear?
How do you feel?
It is nice to enjoy a peaceful moment to yourself and reflect sometimes, to be mindful of your state, however it is probable you infrequently get this opportunity. Many of us are preoccupied in our daily lives, we are just simply too busy. I want you to think about that, being too busy. Is there something in your life that's holding you back from your achieving your goals, maybe it is you and your perception that is not allowing you to reach your full potential. I don't truthfully think any of us ever attain this because living is an experience, a constant journey, therefore we never truly stop growing or learning. I hope to convince you by the end of this short story that your life is indeed invaluable and the very definition of a quintessential life, to me at least, is to embrace every moment.
Since childhood, I've had this reoccurring image of tranquility in my mind. I am in an open meadow with long grass and wildflowers fraying in the wind, there is a breeze on my face and I can fill my lungs with fresh air. There is nothing to do and nothing to be said. I am surrounded by nature and completely at peace, relieved from stress, anxiety and judgment. Everything is silent and I am totally free. This is serenity for me, I am free from the pressures of the world and honestly, my own mind. I have no thoughts or concerns in this moment which feels like eternity.
If I crave this feeling of transcendence so desperately then why have I drifted so far away from this in my daily life? I have allowed myself to live in a manner that places boundaries, that sets expectations. Freedom does not thrive in these conditions. Most of us are living within these limitations, the confinements of society. We are propelled through this world at such great speed with tremendous force that we rarely have time to stop and think about what motivates us and just why we do the things we do. The key to happiness is to understand your desires. But if you are like me, maybe somewhere along the way you were mislead, you didn't stay true to who you are and listen to your feelings. My own thoughts have been my biggest barrier, our thoughts not only shape us but define who we are and ultimately how we live.
It is easy to become accustom to a routine because that is what others around us are doing. For instance, most of us work for a living. We have a 9 to 5 day job that we are required to be at 5 days out of the week. Of course some of us might work the night shift or work from home but the bottom line is we are working to make a living. We wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep and get up the next day, to lo and behold, head to work again. Yes we have time in between work but when you add up the hours in a day the majority of them are spent working. So why are we committed to this same routine, day in and day out, for the majority of our adult lives without much thought that we could perhaps do something different, something that may be even more fulfilling than a monetary incentive?
Why do you work if you value your time away from work so much?
Why are we all waiting for Friday when Monday is sure to arrive just as fast?
I’m sure your answer involves the fact that you need an income to pay for things in life. But when did we arrive at the conclusion that work should would weigh in more than our spare time? When did we decide we wanted more than our basic needs?
I urge you to ask yourself, what could more precious than your weekend where you get to do what you actually want? Well, take a look around you, you may have a car, a cellphone perhaps? What about the services you pay for? All of these wants, what we may even call necessities, are strong enough that we are willing to sacrifice the one thing that is most important to us, our time.
Money can and will control every aspect of your life if you let it. If I asked you if would you like to make more money, your answer would almost inevitably be “Yes!” Of course more is better! Right? Why else would we torment ourselves in this perpetual cycle of work and play? What would be even better is if you had your same income without the job. What I am here to tell you is this just simply isn't true, you won’t be happy when you have more things, you won’t even be happy when you have everything you want, you will only continue to seek more. This is undefinable, it is our human nature.
And that is what has led me to the conclusion that trading my time for an income is not what life's purpose is.
I urge you to be aware of your thoughts and actions and not just go along with the crowd, because these are not mindful decisions. I thought I needed to go to college, to get a good job (one that I was passionate about preferably) in order to make a good living. Aren't we all taught this? Isn't this the very essence of being a responsible and successful adult?
We get a good job, get married, buy a house, fill that house with stuff, have a family and entertain ourselves. But at some point, we stop living, because we aren't doing things we truly want to do anymore. We acquire more and become busier until time starts to go by faster and faster, until you feel powerless and life seems to be a ticking time clock that you cannot stop.
Time will continue despite our desire for it to cease and one day you will find everything you have ever wanted is not what you were after at all. That is why I encourage you to take charge of your life and move beyond this concept of how much more wonderful your life would be if you made more money.
Money does not make you happy, nor will the things it buys you. I can promise you this.
Your time is far more valuable than money and what you’re essentially trading when you work from 9 to 5 is not your time, but rather your life.
When you think of it like that, is anything ever really worth giving up a part of your life for? Maybe some things yes, but money no. I plead with you to not accept this conventional pathway as your destiny. I genuinely bought into this idea that life was better when I could afford more but ultimately I ended up feeling robbed of my time. I found myself less interested in things I was once passionate about. Time is the one thing I yearn for more than anything now.
I want you to embrace this idea: if you work less you will naturally need less and therefore have more time as a result. You will be amazed when you discover just how minimally you can live and how resourceful you can be. You will find the things you cared about, that you believed made you happy, are not as important as you think. You will learn you can live without these things and you will no longer desire them.
This was no overnight revelation for me. It took time to reflect. It wasn’t until I contemplated how I was living that I knew I wanted to make a change. You are allowed to make changes, you can change your mind, you can change your thoughts, you have the power within you to improve the life that you are living should you wish to. I am so happy to tell you today that I now value life, food, the wellness of my family and the world exponentially more than money, so much more, and you should too.
Every morning just before I hop in my car and head off to work, I get this overwhelming feeling that the land and our animals will sit while I am away. That is the hardest part for me, knowing I will miss every moment. I want nothing more to stick around and see the sun rise beyond the mountains. I don't want to miss entire seasons because I was too busy saving for my retirement. What kind of life is that? Ask yourself if this is really how you want to live.
Life is magical; it is so entirely precious that you and I couldn't even begin to grasp it. Live your life in the moments, with little emphasize on the past or future. I encourage you to strive to truly live. So go on, don’t be afraid to make a change, you will not regret it.
In my husband’s words, “life is too short to do anything you don't want to do."
I hope to have inspired you to make these discoveries for yourself.
Remember, you are smart, you are caring and you are powerful, more than all of that, you are deserving. You can make anything happen if you wish.
Life is too short to not make your dreams come true.