What is Enough for You?
dreams enough minimalism
If you could boil your day down to one or two things, what would they be?
Yesterday, Anna and I met a father and husband in Boulder on a very unfortunate errand: bailing his 22-year-old son out of jail. He shared all sorts of stories about his life, his long marriage, and his career. He had spent time as a developer for schools, then as a contractor, but his real passion, he said, was restoring antique furniture. Now that he was retired, he did that as much as he could, and he was really happy about his life, despite the boring town he lived in, his relationship with his son, and the general frustrations of life (which he shared with much gusto).
I found it interesting that, despite all the things he had done and could do, it seemed like all he really wanted was to spend time restoring antique furniture. He didn't really even want to make a business out of it, though I didn't ask. He just wanted to be allowed to do this one thing, and that was enough.
In the struggle to become financially viable, I've been dividing my time among all sorts of activities, not all of them related to things I actually enjoy or care about. There's of course "The Job", which is certainly one of the best ones I've had, though not really in line with my passions. Then there's training--both myself and others--which I do really enjoy. Then there's my labor of love writing, something I wish I could just do all the time, even if it doesn't pay me. Then there are the "wealth-generating" exercises I feel obliged to do, and social activities, and random other stuff like the "Degree for Real Life" program I'm putting together (more on that later), favors I do for others, etc.
It sometimes feels like even the writing and training have become about something else, like I SHOULD be worried about making money and so I need to find a way to make those things generate an income.
It's exhausting, frankly, and while I do actually enjoy using my energies on various activities, I was thinking today about what I'd really like to be doing with my time, and it really only comes down to two things:
That's it. I think my life would be pretty awesome if that's all I spent my time on. I would dive deep into these things, focus my energies, see how far I can go and then expand out.
I dream of the stories I would tell, the adventures I would have, the mountains I would explore, places I would take people. I dream of worlds I would write and dark, wild trails I would run.
But I'd much rather dream of stories that I AM writing. I'd much rather be lost in the woods than DREAMING about it.
How would I do it? I can make just enough money to live and do what I love and let that be for now, instead of feeling like it's not enough because it really wouldn't be much. I can consolidate my work to free up time and say no to obligations and commitments I don't need. I can move to a cheaper town. I can stop hogtying myself by insisting on expensive ideals. I can stop listening to what other people think I need and just do things my way.
When you're whole life revolves around, "What do I need to do this one thing?" it seems very clear and simple what needs to happen. You start to wonder why you feel like you need to keep putting it off to do "more important stuff," as if anything could be more important.
So, maybe the point of all this is figuring out how to arrange your life so you can just do what it is that inspires you, what it is that makes you feel alive, every day, as many hours as you can stand.
Maybe that's enough.
What do you want to do? What would be enough?
Photo credit: ky_olsen on Flickr