January 20, 2015

Having the Life That Makes You Happy: The Myth of Grand Ambition

I often get aggravated with the "Be More, Do More" crowd. According to this philosophy, if you are not striving for great things, you are deemed stupid or lazy. I'm not stupid, but I admit to being lazy. I have no grand ambitions for my life -- especially not at this age. I never really did. Grand ambition is somewhat of a myth anyway. Sure, some people can come from nothing and achieve great things, but most people just go crazy trying to achieve things they can never achieve -- or that they don't really want to achieve but feel like they have to achieve.

There is also a large group of somewhat hypocritical people who espouse the belief that you should "Be Yourself." What they really mean is "Be the self I think you should be." They are just a thinly disguised version of the "Be More, Do More" crowd, in my humble opinion. I try to avoid these people, but then, I avoid people in general.

I seemingly disappoint a lot of people because I don't want to work 12 hour days and achieve great things. I thought when I moved here that I wanted to get involved in the community, but then I found that it is next to impossible to do so without a car, so I gave up that grand idea and settled for something less. Once I did, I found that I really don't want to do all that stuff anyway. I just thought maybe I should do something with my life before I die. I always thought my life had no purpose, but now I wonder why I need a purpose?  Maybe my purpose is just to be.

My son and I were talking the other day about those people who are always telling you you're not living up to your "potential," and how much we hate that word. How on earth do people know what your potential is, and what business is it of theirs how you life your life? There are plenty of super-intelligent slackers who are perfectly happy living the slacker life. I may well be one of them, and who really should care?

Yes, I "potentially" could achieve great things. I have the brain to do so. The problem is, I don't want to. I want to relax, plant some flowers, read some books, play online, and make just enough money to pay my bills and have a little left over to buy more flowers. I don't really care much about traveling or having a beautiful home or seeing the world, although I would like to visit Cornwall one day and go in search of my pirate ancestor John Cornish, but that's a pipe dream, and it's o.k. if I don't get to do that.

The bottom line is that you should not let people tell you how to live the rest of your life. It's none of their business unless it's affecting them in some detrimental way. If it is, then maybe you should change it, or maybe they should just walk away from you and let you live as you damned well please.

Do I wish I had more? Sometimes. Then other times I remember when I had more and how difficult it was to take care of it all, and I know that those days are gone for me. I just want to relax and not be judged. I just want to grow flowers. I don't want to have an urban homestead and can my own food. Been there, done that, failed miserably at it. I don't want to work 12 hour days to pay $300 utility bills so I can be comfortable. I want to live somewhere where I can be comfortable without having to spend that kind of money.

I want to work less and enjoy life more. I used to hate my mother for lying on her bed watching t.v., reading books and eating sweets all day, and I always said I would not turn out like that. Now I see that after a life of working her tail off for an unappreciative alcoholic husband and raising four unappreciative kids, she deserved to live as she damn well pleased. I do too. So do you.

So BE YOURSELF. Truly be yourself. Don't let anyone tell you how to be, or what to do, or how to do it. If you end up in a tent in the woods, so be it. It's your choice and no one else's.


Cindy Callinsky said...

What a wonderful article. So very true.

Deborah Aldridge said...

Thank you, Cindy!

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