If Rules Didn't Exist, What Would You Do?

Imagine Your Ideal Lifestyle

I have a theory that we all live in a box. I've said it before, but it seems to me that most people don't know why they do what they do; they simply do. Today I went to work early in the morning and I stayed there until the late afternoon. By the time I got home the daylight was starting to fade and the slight cold that I had been developing seemed only to get worse. I was sitting by my computer wondering what I would write about and I was feeling sad because I knew that I would do the same thing tomorrow that I did today. 

And then I asked myself why. Why do I get up and go to work everyday? Why do I live somewhere with a cold climate when I would much rather live somewhere warm? Why do I drive to work when I would prefer to bike? In other words - Why do I do anything? 

Or better yet, why does anyone do anything? Why do people get married between the ages of 25 - 28, have children and move to the suburbs? Why does anyone ever use the term "best practice" even though it doesn't actually mean anything at all? Why do people decorate their homes for holidays that mean nothing to them? 

These are all questions without clear answers. In fact, whenever I try to ask anyone any of these questions, or other questions like these, they simply cannot hide a look of annoyance and social rejection, as if all of these tendencies are somehow natural, somehow innately human qualities. But they aren't. Living in the cold, working in office buildings, driving in cars, restricting our spoken vocabulary, living in isolation and celebrating meaningless celebrations are not natural ways of being. The only reason that it makes sense for any person to do any of these things is in context of someone or something else. We are by nature social creatures, and so I believe that we often behave in irrational and unjustifiable ways simply because it is normal. 

I Can't Live That Way #Conformity

I have always been the person to ask why. I want to know how the unwritten and unspoken rules that govern our everyday lives came to be so that I can tear them down. Personally, I want to live in a way that brings me happiness, with or without social acceptance. Unfortunately, given my current non-wealthy financial position, I have to play by the rules and perform based on the subtly veiled expectations of those around me. For now, this means continuing to do many of the things that I don't necessarily want to do. And honestly, I'm not sure that I can think of a single person that really would want to follow the path laid down by our society if they really took the time to think about it; it's just that most people don't. 

Save Yourself - Literally

Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Leaning Tower of Pisa!

The most unsettling part about all of this is that everyday I see the result of not asking why. In the corporate world, I see so many people aged 40, 50, 60 or older who seem to lumber around and give off am impression of lifelessness. "Happy Friday" "It's been a long week" "Almost 5:00" are the ironically dreary palpitations of a heart that has long lost its desire for fulfillment. In a way, these statements represent the hollowed out, yet socially acceptable, ways of expressing satisfaction or anticipation. The cyclical longing for the weekend suggests an inability for any other time to provide a similar level of satisfaction. 

Again just to illustrate my argument, I can't help but point out that there is no logical reason for the 5 day 40 hour workweek. Many credit the 40 hour workweek to Henry Ford who was among the first to give employees two days off per week. But as the world has introduced new technologies, the working week has stayed flat or increased in some cases. We could work a bit less to account for technological gains, but the standard still remains 40 hours. 

But whatever the case may be, I've decided that I do not want to end up that way, old and purposeless. I want to contribute in a meaningful way to the world by having a positive influence on those around me and I want to do that while finding a sense of inner peace and fulfillment. In order to get here, I'm practicing extreme frugality in order to help myself achieve financial independence by the age of 30. That way I can spend the rest of my life in whatever manner I choose. Challenge yourself, set a goal, change your path: I dare you.