Returning from lunch after reading a provocative book (might cover this later) I realised that in many ways I have in front of me a blank canvas to construct a life, and started to think about how I wanted to live. Which then somehow led to a reflection on the difference between choosing a life based on how you want to live vs choosing one on how you should live.
I’ll probably define this differently to most people, but I see it as the following:
How you should live is the test of your 20s, checking cultural norms and stereotypes, going along with something because either your parents lived that way, or all the cool kids are doing so (or rebelling against these two things). Whereas deciding how you want to live is about active reflection of what makes you happy and satisfied and choosing to pursue this. I feel that this is a question you answer in your 30s, or maybe that’s just me. I’m sure my younger sister started answering this question a few years ago, for instance. The second is more work and takes more effort than the first, but is in turn more worthwhile.
Becstarr and I have spoken many times about the benefits of share housing, and I suspect this might be one of them. It gives you a better chance to break-down what is an unconscious normalised habit and what actually works for you as you are exposed to many different ways of setting up a house, and negotiating how to live within that space.
A quick shortlist of some of the ways I want to live, which I know add to my personal well-being:
- a mostly clean and uncluttered house. Not scrupulously so, but a place where care has been taken
- fresh, interesting, home-cooked meals, eaten together at a table. This has been one of the best aspects of the first few months in Surrey. Few opportunities to eat out (far from the lure of King St, Newtown), and so in order to continue to enjoy food I have been forced (and have enjoyed) more cooking than previously.
- coming home at a reasonable hour to spend time with loved ones, rather that working late. I turned down a job interview today for a potentially very prestigious job because of this reason.
- plants, flowers, light, air flow
- good, flowing, intelligent conversation about concepts and issues, or fun, creative conversations about ideas and experiences. These are not mutually exclusive
- a sense that adventures are possible and new things can be discovered on a regular basis
- being able to dress in a way that makes me feel elegantly stylish
- a sense that there is more to life than sleep-eat-work-recover
This is just the start, I’ll be tucking this idea away for future reflection. I suppose this is an important aspect of the title of this blog, what I mean by learning to fly. I had planned to write a full-post on that idea, it will happen, at some stage.