The Pressure to Dream Big and the Beauty of Wanting Less
“What if I winnow that all I really want is a small, slow, simple life? A beautiful, quiet, gentle life. I think it is enough.” ~Krista O’Reilly-Davi-Digui
Why do we finger such pressure to dream big? I think it starts in diaper when parents, teachers, and other adults start asking the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
One of the many problems with this question is its premise. In the classroom, at church, at youth camp, at home, you are not alone, and you’re worldly-wise to hear, understand, and internalize how others might wordplay this question. If you pay tropical attention, you’ll notice changes in responses from one age group to the next.
For young children, the wordplay is very simple and correlates with their firsthand environment. A little girl may wordplay that she wants to be a mother when she grows up. A little boy may wordplay that he wants to be a police officer. A pre-teen girl might say she wants to be a teacher, while a pre-teen boy might say he wants to be a detective. A teenage girl might want to be a singer when she grows up, or a teenage boy might want to be a football player.
By the time most of these children reach young adulthood, the answers will not be as varied and light-hearted as they used to be. The answers will start to have a unrepealable pattern. The most worldwide answers will be doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, pilots, engineers, etc.
There are certainly many reasons for this, but the one I want to highlight is financial self-rule and all that comes with it.
At some point in our lives, we wilt enlightened of the power that money wields, and our dreams, aspirations, desires, and lifestyles uncork to shape virtually it.
Where I come from, it’s not uncommon for teachers to teach students not to wilt teachers, but to try to wilt doctors or pilots considering those professions usually make increasingly money. Everything else is less urgent.
There is a strange story that we tell ourselves that states that, as long as there is money, everything else will fall into place. If you’re once well into your adulthood, you’ve probably made the unpleasant discovery of how untrue this story is. But that doesn’t necessarily midpoint you’ve reverted your goals.
Whether you wilt a doctor, a teacher, a creative, a small merchantry owner, or something else, our dreams and aspirations usually take on very similar shapes.
Our dreams are no longer just well-nigh having a well-appointed roof to undeniability home, but well-nigh having an enviable location, income-generating properties, and vacation homes as well.
Our desire is no longer just to own a car for convenience but to own two or increasingly cars, preferably expensive and good-looking ones.
Our goal is no longer just to be healthy, to have a perfectly functioning soul in terms of strength, balance, flexibility, and proportions; it now has to be defined, toned, provocative, and basically a work of art to see, admire, and discuss.
Even a simple walk is no longer just a walk. You need to count your steps, summate calories burned, and share your results.
Financial self-rule is no longer well-nigh meeting everyday needs or putting a bit whispered for a rainy season or emergency, but it is now a full-time job on top of your full-time job and side hustle.
With the outstart of happiness gurus, vision boards, affirmations, and feel-good culture, our dreams and desires are rhadamanthine unbearable. There is now a formula to dreaming and desiring and an expected, standard result to match.
I unchangingly find it curious how scrutinizingly all vision boards wideness the globe tend to squint the same. It is plane increasingly curious when you worth for the fact that we are all raised in variegated homes and variegated cultural and religious backgrounds, we physically squint different, our educational preliminaries is varied, yet our desires, dreams, visions, and aspirations seem to have morphed into one.
Most worldwide on the vision workbench are all the material possessions. The unique home, the expensive car, the enviable vacation destinations, the perfect partner, and despite our variegated genes, unorthodoxy density, height, etc., the soul goals are very similar if not identical.
We are all reciting the same morning and evening affirmations of prosperity and abundance.
You will be nonflexible pressed to find a vision workbench that is filled with desires related to patience, kindness, apologizing, picking up trash, checking on your neighbor, calling family members more, feeding stray animals, finding joyance in your finances as opposed to making increasingly money, stuff thankful that the bus stops next to your dwelling and that in that season you have no desire for a car, or making peace with the changes that come with: an white-haired body, a pregnant body, a sick body, a soul that has carried and birthed other humans, a differently abled body, etc. There could be vision boards like this, but it’s not the norm.
We are all self-ruling to dream, desire, and visualize the kind of lifestyle we want; we all know this. What needs to be said is that you can moreover desire little and dream simply, and that your dreams and desires are still worthy.
You are not lazy, you do not possess little or no faith at all considering your dream life, the one you visualize and create in your mind, those deep desires and longings, squint something like this:
Walking or cycling to all the places you need to get to, ownership second hand clothes, living in a simple home, eating what you grow and keep, creating your own entertainment with what you have and having a good time while at it, working and earning less, napping in the afternoon, reading on the balcony guilt-free, wailing yonder your evenings or weekends chatting with people, be they family, neighbors, friends, or just strangers, and showing up in your life make-up free, or without having to spend many hours and dollars on your appearance.
If you have never desired to wear expensive perfume and you are happy with a vital soul spray or nothing at all, your desire is of value.
If you have unauthorized teeth but don’t have an overwhelming desire to get braces, you are not settling for less; you, my friend, have been touched by contentment.
Maybe you prefer to take walks, practice yin yoga or mat Pilates, or flit to your favorite music as opposed to doing HIIT and sweating at the gym. Yes, you have wide hips, a good dose of cellulite, stretch marks, perhaps a tiny stomach pooch, and the workouts you enjoy will not sculpt that body, but maybe you couldn’t superintendency less.
No, you are not lazy for not wanting to put yourself through military-like training on a daily understructure for a lifetime just to be an art form for others to enjoy. If you are at peace and see the value in the kind of soul movements you enjoy, that is all there is to it.
If you don’t plan expensive vacations but instead segregate to take small breaks in your everyday life—be it going to the seaside on the weekends, going to the waterfront in the afternoons, or just going for a hike once a week or treating yourself to lunch at a nice restaurant—these are all ways to relax and wits new things. You are not settling for a mediocre life just considering you are doing life differently or cheaply.
Being financially poor by today’s standards should not equate, nor does it, to stuff mentally poor, physically poor, emotionally poor, friendship poor, relationship poor, happiness poor, joy poor.
You are not less of a person considering you do not momentum a fancy car (or any car), you live in a small suite instead of a house you own, you do not own any luxury brands or items, you do not vacation in Greece, and you attended a small vocational higher (or none at all).
Define what’s important and meaningful to you, and do not tint it in stone. Unchangingly indulge yourself, your definitions, your ethos, your values, your dreams, your desires, your visions, your affirmations, your emotions, your body, and your weighing systems to change, to evolve with time and the waffly seasons of life.
Life doesn’t unchangingly have to expand, ascend, and increase. It moreover descends, decreases, and compresses. This is okay. All stages of life are worthwhile and hold value, and you are unliable to enjoy them, be in them, and be at peace while at it.
About Muthoni Amran
Muthoni Amran lives in the coastal zone of Kenya. She is a freelance Mandarin Chinese tutor who enjoys reading, taking walks, long conversations, and the art of just being.
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