It is hard not to define our lives by expectations. Our societies have created ideals which cause us to measure our happiness based on the judged success upon their completion. We are all guilty of believing that money and things will help to fill the void we feel. Our lives are built upon big events with big expectations, but then after the prized moments come and go we are left with the realization that we have not really changed who we are.
We like to put a value on everything. Money is inevitable in modern society and it is indeed an idea that most everyone has come to believe. Living in Ecuador and interacting with some of the local tribes in the Amazon it is refreshing, yet mind-blowing, to witness how they regard our paper. To them, it has no value, no real value that is. You cannot eat it, wear it, or use the material. It is just a piece of paper that will only ever be an illusion of riches to them. Yet we in the modern world define our lives by it. Some of us even believe it is the key to our happiness. This isn't totally false. Money can get you to experiences that make you happy, but it should not be confused with happiness. It is not a means to an end but simply an opportunity for enjoyment, and like all opportunities intended for enjoyment we must be careful with what we choose. Rather than using money to indulge without meaning we can choose to use money to invest in ourselves. Experiences create a lifetime of rich memories. Plenty of people are happy without money and plenty of people are unhappy with money. So if it isn’t a lack of money to blame for our unhappiness then what is it?
I find that most disappointment comes when we attach ourselves to a result. As I have come to learn, especially while living in Ecuador, things don't always happen how we envisioned they would. When we become so attached to the outcome we become disappointed when reality doesn't live up to our assumptions. I do not refute that it is good to hold ourselves and our peers to a standard. We cannot become complacent and believe that things will be done for us (I promise you they will not). There is a difference between attaching yourself to a result and holding yourself to an outcome. Where do you start if you don’t have anything to go off of? How do we define success if we don’t predict the result?
We learn to take each experience for what it is. We learn to live in the present. We learn to appreciate what is in front of us and what we are given in this moment. We learn to trust the journey.
This is a nervous concept for most people, essentially trusting in something they cannot control. My personal experience has found that when I enjoy the present I give less thought to what I hope the result to be. Instead of living for the somedays we need to fully indulge ourselves in today. This frees your mind because there is only ever one today, while there is a potential endless of somedays. From a personal standpoint I feel that when we give ourselves specific outcomes we limit ourselves on the possible solutions when things change. And things always change. I have found that it is better to give yourself multiple options for one path and therefore if one doesn't work out, it simply means another will. Instead of planning your life with options A, B, and C just give yourself options. When you let go of the ranking or expectations you allow yourself to be content with the organic nature of life’s events. I never judge my life on ranked experiences, each outcome is simply an alternative, bringing as much happiness as the other.
I don’t want to confuse this with determination and preservation of the future. I will come back to this point but for now I am happy with this. Until next time, keep enjoying the now :)
**Slow internet means more pictures to come...