I’ve always had this weird anxiety towards the idea of being caged — the idea of having to lock down and choose a certain path through life, losing freedom in the choices I would be able to make. I always have these images of success and power flashed in front of me, and it’s always made me desire a lifestyle “more important” than my own — and if I would be unable to achieve that in the future, that I would be a failure or not living up to my own potential.

When I think about it on paper, I really do have everything I want. I couldn’t ask for much more. Sure, I don’t get to always dine at the most established restaurants in the city, have a completely perfected wardrobe, or have a huge record collection, but I really am satisfied with the life I live. I think I realized that this morning, finally. That I shouldn’t let myself worry about trying to achieve a lifestyle or living standard that I think I should have or I think I deserve, but rather really ask myself, “How do you want to live your life right now?” and just doing it. I shouldn’t discipline myself to constantly study because I feel like I should, and if I don’t, I won’t get into the projected grad school of my dreams, but rather I should constantly seek to study to improve and grow my understanding of the dynamics of the world and the people that live on it. 

I’ve always loved the idea of living simply, and of a nomadic lifestyle. Ever since I really started reading intelligently in late high school, I’ve found that I gravitate towards ideas of abstraction, minimalism, impermanence, ephemerality in art and in the way I seek to live my life. My fatal flaw, probably, is my desire for a diversity — in the music I want to listen to or the clothes I want to wear, for example. 

But I don’t think I need to make myself want a giant house or an excessive amount of obligations. The upkeep associated with an extravagant lifestyle becomes a burden in itself, and the more expensive options that we acquire so that we can more easily experience the simple pleasures life has to offer become only a burden, a vehicle for our inborn desire to worry.

It’s like a person that rides a horse for the first time. They say, “Wow, I really love how I’m able to be so close to one of nature’s most powerful creatures, to be able to work with it so closely, to experience the joys of this horse and the power of this horse’s step and stride.” Then they decide to buy a horse, which is fine, but now they have to deal with upkeep. This may be enjoyable in itself, however, and the owner may love taking care of such a beautiful creature, bonding with it even further. But then they find that they wish to ride a few different breeds of horses and have to build an even larger stable to house all of these horses. The cost associated with feeding them, brushing their manes, cleaning their stalls at some point only becomes too much for the owner, and they find that the simple pleasure they originally felt when riding that first horse, they no longer have the time to experience because they have to take care of managing all of the horses, and they see an increase of worry in their mind’s thoughts, since they now feel responsible for taking care of all of the horses and trying to make sure they’re happy.

As Thoreau suggests, “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”