If you really want to be satisfied with your life, you should really lower your expectations of it. The world’s dark. Dream through the darkness, yet be prepared to wake.
Then, become an expert at going through the motions. At doing what’s needed to keep the lights on. At committing to things and following through on them with vigor. At cultivating a compassionate and chiseled moral compass without compromise.
If you really want to be at ease, you need to take good care of you. Take breaks from screens, move your body, eat healthy foods you love, and build a few close comraderies with fellow earthlings.
I promise: you do not need a $250K/yr salary, or a $1M home, or a $25K ring, or a second home. You do not need an important title or a fancy imported car. You just need enough. Enough is easy if you know how to take care of it, grow it, give it back and appreciate it.
You do not have to have a marriage you don’t want, or furniture you don’t like, or people who don’t serve you, or a job that doesn’t fulfill you. You do not have to always snap the perfect photo of you in the perfect pose, in the perfect outfit, in the perfect light.
It’s really the stupid, boring shit that makes the difference. Do your laundry. Drink water. Cook your meals. Call your dad. Laugh with your friends. Get involved with your community. Use all your vacation days. Pay your bills (if you still can). Make and keep promises. Learn and master skills.
If you do those well, people will trust you with bigger and better things, and you get the honor of declining those or deciding if they’re right. More of the wrong thing always becomes less. Live simply, love deeply.
If you really want to be satisfied, it doesn’t take a moonshot. It takes doing the right thing, and the little things, over and over, until it becomes habitual. Small joys on repeat. Routine excellence.
To experience your fullness, you must be satisfied on empty. You can’t skip the lessons. You can’t roll through the stop signs.
The world’s dark. It’s on you to keep the lights on. That’s what makes you shine.
This essay was originally published on PS I Love You. Relationships Now.