Friends help to normalize ourselves, lest we get drowned in our internal voices that may often remind us of our eccentricities or flaws. Friends show that they are fallible too. That’s also why to be a good friend is to show your weaknesses and strangeness at times.
Conversing with friends help us sharpen our points of view that we can never do while conversing with our inner voice. Like a Socratic conversation.
Imagine a life where time, or timing, or time of the day, is not of essence:
- You work when you want to.
- You stop when you want to.
- You cook and eat when you are hungry.
- You sleep when you are tired.
- You run when it’s sunny.
- You read when it’s raining.
- You daydream when you feel like it.
- You do serious work when you feel like it.
- You walk just because you want to go for a walk.
Won’t this be an epitome of a free and creative life?
It’s really hard to plan for every single step in your life. Sometimes, in fact most of the time, you just have to go with the flow and let things move along. Usually we feel inertia because of i) we are reluctant to leave the current state of comfort or ii) the next state of things differ from how we imagined things to be. That said, it’s important to get a few big (financial) decisions right.
Sometimes, the mundane is enjoyable; the highly anticipated is stress-inducing.
Even a long walk needs a destination at some point: we all need purpose(s) in our lives. Something to strive towards and move us along life.
When travelling, places that are highly advertised (the “must-go”s or “must-see”s) may not be enjoyable at all. Don’t travel to check off a list (I must go to this place. // Have you been there? Oh, what a waste.). Instead, travel to learn more about yourself: it’s only when we are travelling that we put ourselves in environments that we are not used to. Use the chance to learn about your instincts and reactions. What do you reach out for immediately? Pleasure? Physical comfort? Tasty food? First class train tickets? What do you avoid immediately? (Oh it’s raining, we must get inside. What? It’s only a slight drizzle. Don’t waste your time in a cafe, we should continue today’s itinerary.)
An unnamed mountain can provide a greater hiking experience than one that’s named and popular.
I dislike houses, and prefer high rise apartments. I prefer being near the city, where I can observe other people when I take a long walk. I prefer modern architectures with simple lines and simple furnitures. I value physical comfort. I value low cost of living. I value being lazy and not having to prepare every meal that I need to eat.
I prefer a day hike that I can complete in six hours on an unnamed mountain, than a 2-day-1-night one on a well-known mountain trail. The first hike is more convenient and I get to sleep on my bed. I don’t see a need to check off a list.
I care about how I look, such that I don’t attract any attention from others, such that I don’t stand out. That to me is the ideal look.
Job: doesn’t really matter what I do. The money still smells the same as long as it’s good money. Here’s how this thinking works for me.
I aspire to be a full-time novelist. But I recognize that if I were to try writing full-time and try to get published today, chances are that I will fail. And that’s because of two reasons. The first reason is that I still lack the skills to become a moderately successful writer - I haven’t failed enough as a part-time writer. The second is that I’m quite a lazy person. Even if I become a full-time writer today, I won’t be able to write, say, 3-4 hours everyday. This writing stamina comes with experience and practice.
So to me, a job is to trade time for money - pay bills, feed mouths, grow wealth. At the same time, a 40-hour work week with no kids and spouse means that the rest of my time (which, contrary to what many think, is still quite substantial - 5 nights plus a full weekend), can be spent doing the things I like, when I feel like doing them: reading, writing, walking, running, volunteering, tennis.
Hopefully, by the time I complete my mortgage and can rely on steady dividends to feed myself, I would have learnt to read 3 hours everyday, write 3 hours everyday, run 1 hour everyday, sleep 8 hours everyday, play tennis twice a week, walk when I feel like it, cook when I feel like it and eat when I feel like it. To me, that’s life.