It’s easy to romanticize a simpler life that one doesn’t indulge continually. A life much like that of some ideal fellow just two blocks away. He is married to a modest wife, raising a family 一 two good-looking children, and sharing the weekends altogether in simple activities like handball, or skipping, or some other appealing randomness. Their lives are perfect. He is a greeter at a local church, works on Monday to Friday, takes his dog out for a walk at dawn and at twilight. Just now, he mouths something to his daughter while pointing at her dimples – oh look at her face light up with a smile, that twinkle in her eyes. What I’d give for a simple life.
I ponder on the tough decisions I have to make, the projections I have to meet, that presentation that must be made just right next Tuesday, and that new chef – he always gets the mash potatoes wrong, it’s hopeless! Why can’t I have a simpler life? One much like my neighbor here. That’s when it hits me, the appearance of simplicity is neither proof of contentment nor fulfillment. More importantly, a meaningful life for one isn’t necessarily the same for another.
Just as some people thrive in simplicity, there are those that thrive in complexity. For those people, while a simpler life could provide a moment’s pleasure, it’ll drive them crazy after a day. The same is true in reverse: those that thrive in the simplicity of life could find the sophistication of a complex lifestyle appealing, but it gets old fast once they experience it. How could anyone live without a thought of the future? How could anyone live with so much thought for the future? Which is better?
My neighbor’s life may seem ethereal, but that’s exactly what it is to me: a nice painting. I can have an aesthetic appreciation of it, but desiring it is like asking for an imitation of the moon. It’s not my life. It never should be. In spite of what I can and aren’t doing, the life I have is the one I chose.. deliberately.