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April 29, 2021

Your Mission (should you choose to accept it): Finding Happiness in the Ordinary.

Would you describe your life as exciting and audacious or as boring and ordinary?

This, of course, is all about how you perceive the world or how you want to be perceived by the world.

Nowadays, social media helps to paint peoples’ lives as amazing and adventurous and we—as ordinary folks—often feel like we do not measure up, or like we have such a boring and “lifeless” existence that we just want to crawl even further under a rock and hide.

Why? Because mainstream society convinces us that we don’t measure up.

When you look at any of my social media, you will see that my life is quite ordinary. I basically do the exact same thing every day with only occasional interruptions.

Growing up, my most exciting moments were going to the grocery store on Saturday mornings or the hardware store on a random afternoon during the week with my parents. During the summers, I would go fishing or ride my bike to the lake for a swim with my friends—every single day.

And guess what? I had a great time!

This, of course, was before social media, before people were comparing themselves to each other.

Want to know a secret? Everyone was doing exactly the same as me, and guess what? This is still happening! The only difference is that those occasional interruptions of a day trip to the beach or a weekend getaway are presented on social media as if they’re daily occurrences. The pressure to stand out and live our best life is enormous. If you don’t dream big, live large, or are being bold, you automatically fall in the category of being boring or average—like that is the worst thing we can be!

Instead of finding happiness and authenticity within ourselves, we look to friends, peers, and social media and feel like we have to constantly do “cool” things or upgrade our lifestyles in order to be validated in some way. What we see in those Instagram pictures are tiny moments, not a 24/7 live stream. Even celebrities long for the boring moments in life, in contrast to all the publicity. Why? Because, if having the constant “perfect” moment becomes your normal, it can then also become boring.

It’s all about how you look at it (scarcity versus contentment). I’m not saying settle for less or forget all your ambitions. No! Of course not, but know you already have everything you need right now and are only adding on, rather than filling an everlasting void.

If you can’t find contentment in your day-to-day now, why do you think you will find it in your dream life or perfect day?

Even advertisements tell us directly and indirectly that we need travel, purchase the latest fashion items, buy a new car, move to a bigger house, or get yet another credit card. The outside world is basically telling us that happiness is something that must be pursued at all times, and only by giving in with purchases can we find (buy) happiness. Maybe there is some truth to that, but for the most part, accumulating more things will not ever make us happy unless we are happy and content with what we already have and where we are.

Life, of course, is about improvement, evolving, and learning, but constantly chasing the next shiny object is not bringing us everlasting joy. Instead, it only satisfies us momentarily, and then we are off to hunt down the next thing—always on the run, never pausing and enjoying the moment.

Let’s be honest: when you recall your childhood memories, do you remember the stuff people gave you for your birthdays and holiday or the moments you created with them?

I mean, if I don’t have the latest and greatest phone, does that mean you won’t call me anymore? Wouldn’t it be nice to just sit with a group of people to have a “normal” conversation instead of trying to impress them the entire time—and losing sight of who you are at the core?

Are all those things you are chasing actually your dreams or someone else’s? Are you going through life being your true, authentic self or are you merely trying to fit in and blend in with the crowd? Standing out is not achieved by keeping up with the Joneses, but rather by being yourself. That is what a lot of people don’t do anymore. Authenticity will always set you apart because there is only one you; isn’t that amazing?!

As much as one person enjoys living a fast-paced life, there is also nothing wrong with embracing living a “slow,” simple, and ordinary life that focuses on deep and meaningful relationships.

So don’t worry about being boring, but rather enjoy being truly present in each moment and finding contentment in the now.

Doing nothing is (sometimes) everything!

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Antje Arnold  |  Contribution: 3,365

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