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It is What it is – Life That Is

I really like some of the buddhist concepts of life. I have not yet tried to understand the various different forms of buddhism and how for example, Zen is different from other broad categories and followings. Generally though, the concept of simply trying to ‘be’. To learn to sit and to accept and to simply let things be as they are. This is quite appealing. How long do we spend in our lives trying to control things? Or having society or family or friends or businesses or employers try to control you? We all spend a lot of time and suffer a lot due to our want to control. We want to control our life, bring order to it. We want to control our careers, our kids, our house, our friends, where we live, our partners or spouses, our belongings and money. Move it all in ways we want. We then suffer when “it doesn’t work out” and circumstances that you thought you could control were in fact outside of your control. Stuff happened. And it wasn’t what you planned.

I have unfortunately spent a very large portion of my life and time thinking there must be something better. That life was pretty boring, quite average and that surely there is much more exciting, prosperous and fun times that for some reason I don’t have or know about or not involved in. As such, I often was annoyed. Pissed off. Depressed that my life wasn’t that way. That the fun, good times, extreme happiness and success that other people had were somehow evading me. I still am prone to this way of thinking. Most infamously during the recent past has been my wish to move back to Australia. Because it would be so much better over there. Much more relaxed. Much better food. Less violence. More friends, family etc etc. The truth is, it is all a massive lie.

That voice inside your head is most often a liar. Fred simply doesn’t want you to deal with any pain or discomfort. Fred is often comparing how you perceive yourself to others. To see how obviously has a better life. Has more money. Bigger cars, houses, better possessions, friends, spouses, careers etc. There are many problems to this. The first of which is simply how you perceive yourself and others. It is all perceptions and it is very difficult to really pull out truth from fiction within your thoughts and perceptions. What you think of yourself. Is that really you? Maybe or most probably not. Likewise, how you see and perceive others is very unlikely the truth. Do they have a massive house but are secretly near bankruptcy? Travel everywhere but no real friends. Great looking wife or husband but will be divorced soon? Or maybe they truly have a great life and aspects surrounding it and you could learn from them:).

Sooner or later and hopefully sooner, you will have to figure out that your life is what it is. It isn’t worse than it is. It isn’t better than it is. It just is. It is the sum of all the decisions and circumstances and strange and wonderful and not so wonderful things that have happened up until this point. No one else has this life. Only you. Just like you are unique. There is no better life. There is certainly no deservedly betterIt is simply your life. The life you have to live.

I have recently moved house here in the US. Something with quite a bit more room than we had previously. With two growing kids, it will definitely be nice having the room. I am grateful for the move and the great house we found and am sure we will enjoy it. However, it is tinged with regret at not moving back to Australia now. I know now I will probably be in the US for another 10 years. Maybe more, depending on circumstances. I still know I want to end up in Australia at some point! This is just though another example of your inner voice comparing situations, having me believe that Australia would clearly be better. It is better by my perception but I don’t really know the truth. I only would know if Australia way of life is better for me and us once we moved there permanently. The truth is only visible in the present. 

My only words of wisdom (or not) is to try to learn to simply enjoy your current life. The present moment. What you have and don’t have. This doesn’t mean you have to settle. You can still have goals and want to improve things about your life. But life will be way easier on you and more enjoyable if you try to enjoy what is rather than lament about what isn’t.

About Brett Stark

Aussie in Chicago. Husband. Dad. Software Engineer. Tech, Coding, Space, Wine, Travel, Reading are my Things. Thinker. Futuristic. Technology for Change. Find me on twitter at twitter.com/brettstark.

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