What if you had all the money in the world? All the love. The fame. Power. Besides getting a penis extension and a face tattoo, what else would you do?
Most of us have the same usual crap bucket: Travel the world, cure a disease, and tell everyone how to live their lives. You can expand the list until it bursts into a confetti of recycled desires and until you have variations of the same question:
What if you are unhappy?
Most unhappiness is living your reality to reach a hypothetical state and realizing it’s not what you wanted when you get there. But there’s a realization even worse.
Knowing you didn’t need all that much to do what you have always wanted to do.
Yeah, bungee jumping, wine-tasting, and making out in an airplane lavatory takes like six hours and 600 bucks, combined, and much like reading that book you now want to write, they all involve vomit.
The treadmill trope about routine-induced boredom is not so much about being bored. It’s about the illusion that you are getting closer to what you want. And what you want is another treadmill. Your life’s hardship is that you need a vacation to get away from your humdrum comfort. It’s why you always get back right before the vacation turns boring.
You preserve your wants inside the cold storage of success. Your desires are not things you want as much as things you have to want to make it look like you know what you are doing with your life. How small is it? You know what I am talking about.
Renunciation (n): To have your desires be so thoroughly obliterated, not because you can finally do anything you want, but because you can finally see none of this is what you wanted.
The hypothetical question about having everything is less about everything you can do once you have it all, and more about all the things you are not doing, now.
The question you need to confront is not in the end.
What if you are happy?
It’s in the beginning.
One thought on “What if”
The recent pixar movie Soul is based on similar theme. its disappointing. including this essay. seriously? is that all we geniuses have got? “live in the moment” “all the things you are not doing now”!
where disappoint ends, frustration and anxiety starts. the anxiety is that no answer other than this is a plausible explanation/conclusion. the anxiety of realizing its just a treadmill. btw thanks for that analogy. though i too end up with same thing, I am eagerly looking for some alternate plausible explanation. even not sure why.
I wrote something inline with this last weekend (the later part), the metaphor is in continuation so had to add the initial part: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1V0P8jXA61NinsDMeUXZPh8MFLeuRyEF6mvqs-Xy2qu0/edit?usp=sharing