Posts Tagged ‘ happiness ’

Living vs. Vicariously

Before I start making points, I’d like to make one thing absolutely clear: I’m writing about this topic because it’s something I’m working on being better at, not because I have anything figured out and want to sit up on my high horse coaching you peasants how to live.

Good? Good.

I write a few weeks ago about how I seem to have a certain quota of input that I can handle before I cross the line from inspiration to discouragement.

In that post, I make the point that spending too much time online leads to me never creating things.

I’ve been spending a lot of time plugged in lately, and while I wouldn’t describe my creativity as at an all-time low, it’s definitely suffering.

And the lack of productivity frustrates me, so I look to the internet for inspiration, still finding none, perpetuating the loop.

However, I find that as soon as I get offline my brain wakes back up. It may take a few hours, but the longer I spend unplugged the more I find I have things to say (that aren’t just the petulant whining that I catch myself defaulting to after a particularly un-creative spell.)

When I unplug, I’m more observant. I remember more. I glean more meaning from the books I’m reading when I’m not constantly interrupting myself to check Facebook or Tumblr.

I always get so angry at people who interrupt me while I’m reading, and yet I interrupt myself all the time. It’s stupid.

The longer I stay unplugged, the more opinions I have, and the better my reasons grow for having them. I find myself more grateful for the little things in life, and I spend less time feeling sorry for myself because I’m not currently travelling or having an adventure.

Unplugging reminds me to live Right Now.

The great thing is that the best adventures I’ve had are the ones which never made it onto the Internet because we were all living too much to bother documenting the moments.

I think that’s what it boils down to– living in the moment instead of living vicariously.

I can spend all the time in the world researching and planning for travel, but unless I get offline and actually go somewhere, it’s useless.

Vicarious living only gets you so far, and if you’re me, it only gets you bummed out.



On Sunday, I went to downtown Bend with my friend Cedar. After we went to the coffee shop and the candy store, we went down by the river and talked for a while. Before too long, though, some movement in the water caught our attention.

It was a river otter, joyfully diving for crayfish.

As we watched him crunching the small water creatures, bliss written upon his entire small being, one thing became clear.

I am never going to be as happy as that river otter was in that moment. Neither are you.

A sad symptom of humanity is our inability to find joy in the moment. Because we are intelligent, analytically inclined beings (well, some humans anyway,) we are always looking forward to a better moment, even if a better moment will never come.

I don't think I'll ever be as happy as this drawing of an otter.

We are forever discontent, assuming there must be something better.

And that, my friends, is a tragedy.

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