I have been thinking for many years what a small-scale/restricted life I have had; how my perspectives on experiences and opportunities were focused but small; and how expanding or changing my perceptions/the way I evaluate things would be useful to see the beyond and brighter (especially lately). The events in the last weekend motivate me to seriously think about this now.
I think I have a small-scale/restricted life because I live in a small city with small number of activities that interest me and I work the majority of the time, or occupy myself with it, which leaves little room to reflect on or experience anything else. I have known this for a very long time. After years of struggle, I came to accept the beauty of the simple and safe life this city provides me with and all the financial awards and mental satisfaction (despite its stress) this job gives to me. It also gives me the opportunity to not face what I must face in life most – my fears; by working and trying to control my work, I get a sense of safety away from my own thoughts (it is not new news to you that I have anxiety).
My perspectives on experiences and opportunities are focused but small-scale as well; in the last few years, I focused on saving money/frugality, simple and leaner life, with little outside activity. I do not even read books as much as I used to. My plans or priorities concentrated around money and appreciating the beauty of simple and frugal life. There is nothing wrong with these, but it naturally restricts the options one may provide themselves; no vacation somewhere; no movies or other cultural activities; no new furniture I may need; no spontaneity; no sense of adventure. As one of my family members rightfully told me this weekend, money is not everything, however.
The main reason I wanted to save money was to cope with the daily expenses after especially buying my home and investing for my future. This is the right decision and I benefited from it. I would love to be comfortable in my future and have the freedom to pursue interests, take care of myself and my family’s needs better. I am almost half a century old and I do not have enough accumulations for my retirement. But I wonder whether I over-did and strained myself to a point that I have lost my jest for life or spontaneity. Where is the energy and excitement coming from unique and exciting experiences?
There must be a difference between being grateful for everything I have (or not) and be happy with status quo, and aiming better by looking for additional things/way/experiences to better my life, my experiences, and nourish my mind and soul with even at the expense of money.
Being grateful is amazing, but forgetting to aim for better if that is going to enrich my life and remove this being “restricted/small life” feeling may not be. This is what I am trying to say here. That is what my family member was trying to say. Life is short. Our plans and predictions may not happen, good or bad.
Just last week, I was thinking about letting my mind expanding or changing my perceptions/the way I evaluate things, which would give me a different view, different opportunities, and better outlook about life. Take work-related stress for example; I am stressed but I also progress and succeed. Why can I not be happy for these?
Challenging my beliefs/opinion on my approach to work and people was one thing that came to my mind. Rather than evaluating my hard-work as stress, I could approach it as something that gives me an opportunity to reach my goals. Rather than evaluating people as annoying, I could see them as souls that needed attention or love. Rather than being feared about being un-appreciated, un-credited, under-respected/recognized, or threatened, I could talk or ask whether these were correct or how to fix. I have not done any of these. But I can. Maybe the situation I evaluated can be evaluated in a different way. If so, would the restrictions I put on myself and the stress and negative feelings I experience be relevant anymore? No.
What keeps me away from this?
I know my anxiety problem is contributing to these. I want to control my life/experiences or be prepared as much as possible to protect myself and my future. I know some of the risks are real so I still need to be vigilant.
But can we really protect our future by sacrificing today?