I was considering a rant today but changed my mind after watching a lovely mini-documentary put out by the New York Times and recommended by Simon – SloMo. The guy is 69 years old, quit his job as a prestigious doctor complete with BMW, moved into a studio apartment, and bought a pair of in-line skates. So now what he does all day every day (for the past 15 years) is skate.
And all of this was lit by a spark from a 93-year-old man who gave him some advice for a long and happy life: “Do what you want.”
So what this guy wants to do is skate and that’s what he does.
For him it’s a form of meditation. It’s utter bliss. He is living the dream.
Now here’s what I find interesting about this: (there’s a full double circle going on here). Society tells us that in order to be happy we first have to do stuff (get a job), so that we can have stuff (cars, houses, toys) and then we will be happy. Enlightened self-realization groups will tell you “No – first you have to be who you are (find your bliss) and then you will do what feels right and then you will have happiness.”
This other way of thinking is more like society’s – first – do what you want. Where it differs is that you don’t do what everyone else tells you to do. You simply observe yourself – what makes me happy? Playing with dirt? Great – do more of that! Garden all day. What makes SloMo happy is skating so he does it all day.
So – do what you want – you get happiness – there’s the have part – and as for the be part – doing what you want brings you to a state of being that is meant just for you.
Given that we are, by nature, doing creatures – this actually makes a lot of philosophical sense.
Extrapolation: I think of the surfers I have seen – following summer around the world, catching big waves. Yeah – why should they be any different? I think society wants them to stop and “get a job” because society is generally pretty darn jealous of people who find their bliss. Also, people like this don’t fit in with what our structure wants from them. The hierarchy thrives when it has lots and lots of mindless little worker bees with their heads down doing what they are told. Individuals breaking out of the mold – that doesn’t work for them.
All that aside (and not to get into a political rant) what would happen if each of us asked ourselves the question, “What do I want to do?”
And then just go out and do it.
I’ll bet the first thing that comes to mind is, “But I have to earn money and I need shelter and food and clothing – I can’t just do what I want. Hell, what I want to do is sail around the world but I’m married with two kids and a mortgage and and and….”
Yeah – and then you die.
I want to hike high up in the alpine. All. The. Time.