I spend the majority of my days in front of a glowing computer screen. Though my job involves building, I am a facilitator of building rather than a builder myself. My fingertips are more calloused than my palms.
My situation is far from unique. Most professionals nowadays, regardless of profession, are stationed in front of glowing boxes. I also work from home, so the majority of my face-to-face interactions are Skyped or with clerks at the grocery store.
I often romanticize about what it’d be like to get back to the earth, living off of foraged lingonberries and caribou meat; maybe start a farm growing tubers and chard. Streaming would be limited to water (FYI, I’m from the suburbs and grew up in with a remote in my hand).
It’s possible that a wholesale withdrawal from society is the answer–that there’s some sort of fundamental flaw with the trajectory of humanity and a modification of the status quo is insufficient to restore balance to the planet’s ecosystems, much less my inconsistent levels of sanity.
Then again, my fantasies might have different causes. I have a tendency to make reality wrong and fantasy right. For example, if only I were tilling the earth instead of typing on a computer, I’d be happy; if only I had a new carbon fiber road bike instead of my heavy, steel one, I’d be happy. And so on.
There are a couple delusions inside these fantasies:
- That the current thing/person/state/activity is the problem.
- That the ‘instead-of” thing/person/state/activity will solve the problem.
I know this because I’ve been quite happy typing on a computer and riding a heavy, steel road bike, and I’ve been miserable in the country and riding a sweat new carbon fiber road bike.
The real function of these fantasies is that they allow me to shirk responsibility for being happy right now. Because there is something in the way of my happiness (be it a job, possession or person), I don’t have to do anything. It’s their fault.
What if we all let go of the certainty that reality–the here and now and all that entails (including who we are)–is wrong? This is not to say the world isn’t falling into an intractable psychological and environmental tailspin [couldn’t resist the opportunity to editorialize], but rather that our happiness need not depend on things being any way other than the way they are. Happiness never comes later, when. It happens now, with.
With these thoughts in mind, consider:
- What fantasies are you holding onto that prevent you from being happy now?
- Ask yourself, “If I had that thing/was that way/etc.” would I really be happier? Prove it without resorting to memory or assuming based on ideas promulgated by US Weekly.
- Ask yourself, “How would I be and what would I do if nothing were wrong with things as they are?”
- Stop waiting for things to change or get better and start living.