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What Kind of Life do You Want?

In this blog, I want to present two alternative lives. The first, is the busy and complicated life. The second is a quiet and simple life.

The busy and complicated life can also be characterized as the Instagrammable life. It is a life full of friends, social engagements, fancy cars, flashy watches and exotic overseas vacations. There are no gaps in your diary. You don't sleep much. Your mind is stimulated by news, noises, music and other media. You are never alone – you are always engaged with other people and you are always in a relationship.

The simple and quiet life is the opposite. It is not at all Instagrammable. You have only a few good close friends, only a few social engagements every week, you live in a simple house and you are not overwhelmed with physical possessions. You get plenty of sleep, and you limit your news and media intake. You enjoy the simplicity of life - a beautiful sunset, quiet meditation in the morning, helping out at the local homeless shelter. You are not afraid of being alone. You enjoy long solitary walks along the beach, being engrossed in a good book, sitting on a bench watching children play and the birds chirp.

Of these two lives, which would you say is the most successful? Society will tell you the first life. We live in an age where idle time is bad because you are unproductive, and busyness is a sign of success. Maybe the lack of happiness in your life is not due to the lack of busyness, but rather the lack of simplicity.

There are three questions that busy people do not like: -who am I?

-what do I actually enjoy?

-what do I want to do with my life?

I used to have a busy life – I worked 70 hours a week, in 2018 I traveled the equivalent of four times around the earth, I visited 22 different countries, spent time with thousands of people, I skied in Vail Colorado every Christmas and New Year for 18 years, my social agenda was filled with dinners, parties, lunches, first communions, weddings, wakes. I was never by myself and it was fun. It was bloody amazing but I was never happy. All this busyness made me high. This cult of activity forced me into a life where there was less consciousness, less searching, and a less intense feeling of life. This meant that when the COVID pandemic hit in 2020 and destroyed my second marriage, and forced me into a solitary life, I did not have the tools to answer the three questions mentioned above.

If you cannot answer these three questions, you will never be truly happy, and if you have a busy and complicated life, you will use every ounce of strength in your body to avoid having to answer these questions. If you want to be happy, you need to simplify your life and find a quiet space where you can explore who you are and what you want. I had to do this at the age of 50 - I hope you get around to it before that age!

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