Simplicity Security Self
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Humans place arbitrary laws on our society, but the laws of physics provide more truth. I often wonder whether Simplicity may come at a cost: our innate desire to explore.
We were once nomads. Once explorers. Now that the powers to be see us as a number, I wonder whether exploring provides too much instability to institutions, and through downward permeation, we now as a society we tend to now frown upon it.
Buy a house: it's time. You're married and now you must nest and settle and get into an insurmountable amount of debt like the rest of us.
Sure, for some, this life is all they've ever wanted. Good for them: it is no small thing to know what one really does want. But for the majority, I suspect, they fall into it. The debt cripples them. They are required to work every day for 30 years. Their fate is decided and they are subscribed for life: checking the markets they don't understand, watching the news every night, instilling fear and cementing the world view they hold from their armchair. Traveling once in a while with the views from the news in hand: placing a filter over everything seen.
Is that truth? To see the world through a glowing box? To see a screen five days a week, then relax on the weekend by watching another screen?
I'm deeply afraid of the ocean. I've lived on the coast for a significant chunk of my life yet I'm afraid of it. That said, it isn't just any ocean, it's the Indian Ocean. One of the most feared oceans of them all. I've stood on the rocks, looking out over 10 - 15 ft waves. Seeing sets roll in from the Antarctic. Feeling the cold, gray emptiness. Literally swimming with a shark (certainly not on purpose, and not a Great White: a reef shark, but still not fun). I've been dropped by boat near a reef a kilometer or two from an island in the Indonesian waters, left for hours to "have fun" in massive surf. I gave the ocean a good go.
My experiences have shaped my view. There is something incredibly isolating about the ocean. You're quite alone. There are no screens. There is no notifications. There is no evening news. It's just you, the water, and whatever the hell is underneath. Some find peace in this. I've tried. It scares me. The voice nagging to get to land, where us monkeys are supposed to be; it's a voice hard to silence. I prefer forests, rolling hills, grape vines. You're still alone, but you're safer. You can survive if you fall asleep, for one thing. The ocean doesn't play games. Rule one is to never turn your back on the waves. You must be aware. You need to read the water, because the water doesn't have to read you. You're nothing, in the ocean.
The fear drives me to try again. Youth drove me again and again, but as I get older, fear takes youth's place. I'm determined to sail at some point in my life. This isn't high on my list of things to do - since I'm genuinely terrified - but nonetheless I am determined to try it. I do not fear failure. I'm aware this is a great asset, and I can only implore you to be the same.
There should be no stigma around failure. It is a footnote to the attempt, which should be revered, respected and encouraged.
Am I going to become a sailor? Good Christ no. Will I be any good at it? I have no idea, and that's beside the point.
I want to explore my fear. I want to explore the world. It is something that I cannot silence. Something I cannot ignore or push down or bury. I've not yet tied myself to debt, because I've not yet found my truth. I'm not yet satisfied with the social norm of 'settling down'. I want to see more. I want to experience more. I want to find a place to call home.
Staring your fears in the face reveals something true about yourself. It shows you who you really are. It demands attention. It melts everything else away. That is what I found in the ocean. I found a truth about myself. A fear. Rational or irrational, a fear nonetheless.
Minimalism can demand that we reduce our lives down to run like a well oiled machine. But this in turn reduces our ability to change certain aspects of our life; or at least, it reduces our mental ability to change aspects of our life.
Having less in turn creates less choices, which creates more time. But if you use that time only to create less choice is that really creating more time?
Saving money is essentially the only true way to freedom in this life. Without debt, savings provides us with Security and can allow us to find our Self. Simplicity enables savings, which is why all three are so inherently related.
However, savings costs, too. I know it sounds counterintuitive, and it is on face value. To save an extra percentage of your income might shave 3 or 4 years off your working life, but it also costs a dash of your youth, and a certain amount of risk.
The risk is the general and wonderful uncertainty of the ride we’re all on. Anything can happen, and for some significant events a large portfolio can’t help you. This begs the question: what if you just decided to spend a bit while young(ish), take a solo trip, and search for a new life’s passion? What if you face your crazy fear and find something out about yourself? What is that worth?
A wise man once told me that ‘you only regret the decisions that you don’t make’. The decisions we jump at without thinking too much can turn out to be the best decisions we make, even when they might set us back months or years on paper. In fact, our best decisions can look awful on paper.
In a previous life I came to a point where to continue to follow my passion I was required to put all my chips on red. I hesitated. I had no leave at my day job. I wondered what I would come back to. I um’ed. I ah’ed. I eventually bought the plane ticket and I didn’t look back. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
I found only memories, but I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.
That's the crux: when opportunity stares you in the face, don't hesitate, because you can create opportunity yourself.
Once you start saying yes to things, other things seem to fall into place. Exploring your fears, or exploring the world, are all worth their weight in gold if you find out a truth about yourself. We learn a truth very quickly when we cement ourselves into a career, a house, a city, and subsequently and inevitably; a world view. But this truth costs us 30 years of debt. It costs us our lives. The effort required to learn more beyond this truth is substantial, not natural.
You can decide when you want to explore. You can dig yourself out of the ground. You can challenge the norm and not subscribe to what everyone is telling you to do. Do they all seem happy, all those homeowners tied to their desk, checking their area's property prices and interest rates endlessly? Are they projecting a world view onto you?
Explore. Regardless of your position. Find yourself if convenient. If inconvenient, find yourself all the same.