I used to be textbook ambitious. I had dreams of being a novelist or an astronaut or a lion tamer or a combination of all three. I realized what it would take to achieve these goals, too: education, experience, ingenuity and the application of each. The process could’ve taken years of waking up early.
Eventually I came to realize my goals were far too lofty and hardly worth the effort. I already had what I needed, be it my daughter, time to bicycle or time to take a nap. The only true motivation I had was to avoid being criticized by people who thought they knew how life is supposed to be lived.
Here are five myths about living life to the fullest and why they are wrong:
1.) “Successful” people always find time to accomplish things. That’s true only if the activity they’re accomplishing is mutually accepted as an accomplishment. To some, “accomplish” can be replaced by “do” in the first sentence of this unquestionably correct point: “Successful people always find time to do things.” Doesn’t sound as prestigious now, does it?
2.) It’s good and important to try new things. No, it isn’t. It’s good and important to enjoy at a reasonable rate the things you know you like. I know people who spend a lot of money on ethnic ingredients to prepare foreign recipes, almost as if they don’t want to admit they like something people have actually heard of. This is stupid and an example of the “accomplish vs. do” debate showcased in my first point. It may be enjoyable for some to try new things, but it’s important for all to be comfortable with what they think is good. If you do this, there’s no real need to try anything new.
3.) You should make the most of every day – and by this, it’s meant you should wake up early and go full throttle until your bedtime. Running, running, running. Waking up early to cook ethnic foods and accomplish things. This is what some people will tell you they do every day. And maybe they do, but who gives a crap? The most important thing is squeezing the maximum out of every moment by enjoying it, no matter what you’re doing. There’s nothing wrong with ignoring a beautiful sunny day by watching Looney Tunes on the ol’ davenport as long as you’re not risking needed employment or promoting morbid obesity. If that’s what you feel like doing on a beautiful sunny day, that’s what you feel like doing.
4.) Having a lot of friends is important. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. It depends on the type of person you are. Some relationships are like garden vegetables that require a certain degree of attention – perhaps, even, meeting an activity quota. I tend to let these vegetables wither and die without the slightest bit of sincere regret. This quota, you see, gets in the way of point No. 3. My only friends are people who understand my commitment to the “five reasons it’s better to be lazy” code and continue to be there for me despite going without contact for weeks, months and years. I have, I think, three who meet these criteria.
5.) Stop at nothing to achieve your childlike ambitions. This is just idiotic. When you’re a child, you only consider the glamour and glitter of a dream. It is, well, childish. Later in life, after you’ve gained experience, you naturally redefine these ambitions and aspire to achieve them. These are the ambitions that count. In my case, I had dreams (literally – images danced in my head at night) of taming lions when I was a youngster. Then I realized I’d have to get mediocre grades in high school, be accepted into lion taming college and earn at least a master’s degree to be considered for a real circus, and date only freaks of nature. Out the window went my dreams of taming lions. Nowadays, the lifelong ambition I chase is raising a daughter who grows up to be happy. Of course, she’ll have a printout of my “five reasons it’s better to be lazy,” so it’s highly unlikely I will fail.
Not that I care …