Do you sometimes catch yourself dreaming about the good life?
Having enough money to spend your days doing all kinds of crazy stuff…Bungee jumping, lavish parties, being surrounded by lots of gorgeous whatever-type-of-human-it-is-you-dig. Not having anything in the world to worry about?
To most of us “regular peeps” it seems like a far-away fantasy. One we’ll never live to see come true. (Or one we’ll delude ourselves into thinking we’re making it coming true while we spend our time posting vague success quotes on Instagram ? ).
But what the majority of people don’t realize, is that the real good life is actually much more attainable than we make ourselves believe.
A Never-Ending Party
When I was 16 years old, my buddies and I had established some kind of home party ring. All summer long, we’d gather intel about parties going on in the house of a friend of a friend of an acquaintance of some guy we didn’t know whose dog had heard of our mother’s babysitter’s hair dresser by means of recommendation. And then we’d set our minds to figuring out what street it was in.
Our “party crew” landed in a different place every night, sometimes we even had to choose between a few on the same date and figure which one would be the coolest. Once we had an idea where it went down, we’d take a bus/train or hitchhike to that city, barter or bullshit our way into the front door and feast on anything the party had to offer (no, that doesn’t include human brains).
I couldn’t imagine anyone having more fun than us at that point. Young and reckless, we didn’t have a worry in the world. Except maybe finding out where they kept the pizza in this particular hizza.
[–Quick side note for readers inexperienced with the word “hizza”: This used to be slang for “house”. But according to an old South Park Episode, it has since fallen out of use and has been replaced with the more recent slang term “Flippity Flappity Floop”. However, because I am a white person and it rhymed better with “pizza”, I still chose to go with the outdated word “hizza” in this case. If this caused you any inconvenience in regards to your reading experience, please go flippity flappity flunk yourself. –]
There are a lot of people on the internet who glorify the idea of giving zero fucks. Well, back when my life was never-ending party I literally gave zero fucks. In fact, I gave such a small amount of fucks that I could actually be a real pain in the ass for other people. I was like that little kid who has loads of fun jumping on your sandcastle without realizing it’s not nearly as fun for you. Except I did it with real castles.
10 years later I actually enjoy giving a little more fucks now. Thought it’s still nice to know I can give them deliberately, and not just because I’m expected to ?
An unintended consequence of this non-stop partying at a young age was that by the time I turned 20, I had seen, done and heard it all. And so did my friends. Which left us jaded as fudge.
We’d be at a supposedly crazy party and someone would do something random, causing the guys next to me to poke me in the ribs and yell out in amazement: “WHOAAA!!!! THAT GUY IS AMAZING!!! HE’S TOTALLY GOING CRAZY!!!”
I’d try to act a little less unphased than I really was to convince myself I was still having fun. Then I’d hear my equally apathetic drinking buddy mumble “He’s not going crazy, you morons. He’s just going Tuesday afternoon.”
Like I said, the “good life” turned us jaded very quickly.
In a way you could say I was jealous of the novelty and enthusiasm other people could still experience at a party. So I tried to fix that with more booze. I’ll never forget the words of one of my best friends around this time:
“I’m glad my parents gave me such a strict curfew and let me out only once a week when you guys were partying so much. I always got to leave at a high note, never experiencing the decline of the night. And I always got to treasure the opportunity of a party because I only got to go out once in a while.”
Real Sobering Highs
When I went sky diving for the first time, I had expected the feeling to be a major high (pun intended). A real thrill or an adrenaline rush of some sorts.
The actual feeling was nothing like that. It felt more like a relaxed meditative experience for me. I’m glad I crossed it off my bucket list and it was a very fun day. But I wouldn’t recommend anyone spending 150-200 bucks on it. It was more like a “cherry on top of the cake” experience than the cake itself.
The first time I had sex with 3 women at the same time was a very similar experience for me. In the past, when it was just an unattainable fantasy in my head, I thought it would be an epic moment if it would ever happen to me some day.
But when it unexpectedly started to happen, I didn’t hear Hans Zimmer’s He’s a Pirate or Vangelis’ Chariots of Fire playing in the background at all. Just my regular playlist. The one that I liked but felt surprisingly familiar and normal.
Aside from the ego stimulation of 3 women fighting over my ding-a-ling, the whole thing didn’t feel any different from, say, if I had just played an interesting board game with them for the first time instead. It was definitely fun and I wouldn’t mind doing it again some time. But I’d never chase it like some elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow the way most guys tend to do.
[–Quick side note for readers inexperienced with the word “ding-a-ling”: It’s a toy that consists of two silver bells attached to a string. Shows a remarkable resemblance to a man’s genitalia. You know, his matrimonial peacemaker? His best leg of three? His meat popsicle?. His bald-headed yoghurt slinger? His… Anyway, Chuck Berry has a pretty awesome song about it. –]
Now I hear you thinking: “Enough with the disappointing stories, when are you going to tell me how to live that good life??? Don’t you know some of us have more important mindless scrolling and impulsive clicking to do? You misleading waste of attention!!”
Alright, my sincere apologies, here we go:
How to Live the Good Life
I used to dream of that good life like so many of us do. But oddly enough, every time I got a quick taste of it, it tasted rather bland. Doing coke with models in LA must’ve been one of the most gruesomely boring things I ever did. Eating blueberries in Belgium? BEST. DAY. EVER .
In the evening, I sometimes take my diary and write down 3 awesome things that happened that day.
This used to be a spot reserved for crazy glorious moments and intense highs. Like playing a gig with some of my biggest idols and hearing they liked our band. Or our album being called “Album of the Year”. Or figuring out how to use a microwave after 25 years.
But lately when I look at what I’ve written down, those things don’t even seem to make the top 3 on those lists anymore. They have become mere side notes at best. And the things I find most awesome about my life, the things I really consider worth living for, invariably end up to be some very normal things:
• Hanging with friends and realizing we understand each other on a deep level
• Walking around in the grocery store, just randomly feeling good
• Cuddling with someone I love and feeling their skin on mine
• Taking a shower in abundant, clean, warm water while breathing fresh, relatively un-polluted air.
• Eating blueberries (did I mention that I love blueberries?)
The Elite 0,5%
That’s it… Everything you need to get a taste of the good life, is already inside you right now.
Don’t get me wrong, I also still have daring dreams of making lots of money. But for different reasons now: Being able to afford the healthiest food available, to deal with unexpected financial setbacks, to travel spontaneously. Or simply to have a lot of leverage for making good things happen in the world and start a charity some day.
When I’m at a party now, I realize that even if nothing extreme happens. Even when there is no one lying naked on the dinner table. Even when nobody’s riding a bike from the DJ booth on the roof top straight into the pool, it’s still the coolest party ever. Because I get to hang out with people kind enough to invite me in their house and enjoy the music and the togetherness.
I don’t mean to tell you to use that as an excuse to live a boring life and do nothing about it. Since our time in this physical world is only limited, I’m the first to say you should go out an experience it in as many ways as possible. But our western millenial culture has a tendency to fetishize the extreme. And to make us forget that what we consider normal would already look like excess to 99.5% of people in human history. Including the ones alive today.
If you are able to access this blog and read it, there’s a big chance you are already part of that 0.5% rich elite.
You can dream about lavish parties and once in a lifetime experience all you want, and I’m not saying experiencing it has no value. But ultimately, whether it will be the good life or not, depends more on your inner attitude than on your external circumstances. The entire “good life” is only created by your own level of gratitude.
I experienced that more clearly than ever last week when I was spending time on a beautiful island with an equally beautiful woman. Sometimes I’d get seriously annoyed by the place. Can you believe that? But any time I reminded myself of how awesome it was that I got to walk on that beach, breathe that fresh air and enjoy everything the place had to offer, not being the happiest person on earth seemed like the most ridiculous idea ever.
And now that I’m back in my favorite gray shithole of a country, I find that to be equally true ?
If you’re not grateful for what you can already experience right now, you’ll just end up jaded like 20-year old me. Or like so many celebrities that don’t seem very happy despite supposedly having so much more than you or me.
On the other hand, if you try being just a little more grateful every day, there’s a pretty big chance you’ll discover you had actually been living a much cooler life all along, you just weren’t appreciating it enough.
Even though you may not realize it, in the end your life is already filled with an abundance of goodness. Some food on your plate, some people to connect with. A nice tune and a beautiful sunrise. That is the good life. The rest won’t make you any happier if the basics don’t already do it.
And the great thing is that you don’t need to have money or more possessions to enjoy it.
All you need to do is take a moment and remind yourself of how great what you already have is. And how little people actually get to experience that on a daily basis.
Including the simple fact that you’re alive and still have all your limbs (hopefully). Don’t ever take any of that for granted ?