How would the Walden life be led today in our suburban society? Or simply put how could we live a life that is simple and without the encumbrances of enraptured selves? More and more of us ask this question of each day I believe. After another mind numbing scroll of people making poor life choices, baby pictures and yet another reminder of how amazing our dogs and cats truly are we sit and we ask, is this really all there is?
Hasn’t it always been? In the 70’s we had out risqué sit coms, the 80’s we wanted our MTV, the 90’s it was CNN, and so on. These were and are the distractions, the empty veiled promise that there is something out there that begs our attention. For others it is the art, the yoga, the instrument and the book. It is not to say these items of our fascination are not worthy. However, we care about the things that make us better, because personal life enrichment is not only a need, if lived correctly it is an art form in and of itself.
But why? If we can examine the why of the need of our lives to be better, we can pursue the finite reason of what we want to do in order to correct the wrongs.
How many people do you know that took a painful memory and made it into a living? Why do social workers do the work they do? Pastors, and even hedge fund managers? They do it to steer the car back onto the road that took their memory down the ravine in the first place. The vehicle that tumbled and shattered their insides and that memory was possibly so excruciating that it was enough to change their future tense at if it could somehow repair the damage off that cliff where the wheels of the broken past still spin. We want others to have better childhoods, better marriages, and to not be be in financial ruin, especially ourselves.
How do you begin? If all the pieces are not in place, then we count the just the costs of the pain of putting the plan together, assembling the pieces, and placing them together; it may also be paramount to count what the success will bring if we actually lived our dream. If we seek the success we will most likely fail, if we seek the work that leads to success, we will wake up each morning with the necessary energy to correct the memory that drives us each day.
Which takes us back to our Walden life; how can we live simply enough to keep the car steady in our lane to keep us focused so that completing each step is the just a process? The exam in microbiology is systematic studying based on a demanding day a night regimen of completing enough work to get it done. The distractions of this life our way outside our even minds eye of comprehension, because why? Another scroll, what’s the point? Distractions leave us disorganized, behind, angry because others skate on no effort, and have us feeling poor about the ability to compete. Living as simply as possible when it matters would most likely be the number tool to complete your goal of beating the arms race to get you to where you want to be in life.
If you have two major goals you want to accomplish in life. First see if it is possible to intertwine the two, and if not, “take the road less traveled,” to quote Robert Frost. The simple math behind this decision is how many people are competing for the same goal, and how many are going to be successful. It seems very superficial, but so is a business plan. Choose to be the quiet guy at the office who nobody knows and who gets it done, so he can go wherever he goes and nails it some more.
Whittle the distractions so you are sharp, inventive and built for what lays ahead, rather than wondering where you woke up, and asking yourself, why did I waste those 5-10 years of my life waiting in line, device in hand and choosing to hand over more time to a goal, pastime or wasted life that wasn’t even yours because you chose not to follow through. Get it done, because believe it or not the world actually needs another marine biologist. Lot’s of them, actually.