Most of my life I have sought opportunities to escape a present that was never “good enough.” I assumed confirmation of another day to create, so I didn’t fully appreciate that to which I already had access. I justified my ambition and ungrateful attitude with the belief that I wished to do and be more so that I could produce something bigger and better (neither of which is synonymous) that will benefit life. While this perspective has cost me relationships, steady housing and placement in the status-quo, it has, also, brought me rewards in the form of ample savings and unique life experiences living and learning abroad.
Since arriving in Egypt, my ambition level has not changed dramatically; however, I have begun to take steps to create different mental and practical habits that contribute towards me enjoying life now. For example, I have begun to practice living as if each moment was my last – an oxymoron considering that each moment could be my last. This perspective manifests differently according to an individual’s fears and goals. I interpret living fully as spending money and time with fewer restrictions than I, often, impose on myself in America. So, in Egypt I have inhabited beautiful living spaces, taken up belly dancing, joined luxurious health spa/clubs, loved children, and eaten brunch at five-star hotels before the pool when I could have stayed home and studied.
Living fully is not synonymous with irresponsibility; instead it requires self-accountability and broadening my focus from realizing a particular goal to creating an environment that makes the process of accomplishing that goal pleasing. This has involved altering my personal narrative and living out the changes – other people and things are not the cause of my (un)happiness, I am. Since I have begun to live according to this pleasure principle, I calculate how confronting someone to prove a point may influence my comfort. If an act will put me in a place of long-lasting negativity of any kind, then I reorder my priorities and focus on the alternative that ensures my comfort.
Focusing solely on accomplishing a goal is burdensome. No human knows when or how she will die nor does she have the power to prevent death (so, you might as well enjoy the process of living, at least). Within these conditions and considering that she lives through an entire day, a human has a daily credit of 24 hours. If, after death, god charges you to defend your credit usage, then what kind of defense will you make? If I stop breathing before I bring about better inter/intra-state and interpersonal relationships, then, at least, I will be able to say that I spent days appreciating god’s beauty, giving and receiving his love, and contributing value to his plan. What can you do differently to experience and live a more pleasing life? How could a change in your narrative about life and your place in it help you realize goals?
(The is the full-length version of the blog entry on http://www.michelleobrunch.com)