Sometimes the things we want are defined by the things we do not want. That’s true for me to some extent, but as I get older, I know pretty much exactly what I want:
a) Peace and quiet = without these, I cannot relax. I do not want to be around people the entire day, and that includes my work day. I want to be able to close my office door and to be by myself. I need peace and quiet at work and at home, in other words, some hours to myself where I am beholden to no one. I want alone time that is responsibility-free and guilt-free, and that is not invaded by pointless conversations or people wanting me to feel guilty for not paying attention to them.
b) Real communication = without it, nothing works. If I cannot have real honest communication, then I’d rather not waste my time and other people’s time talking. I don’t want to fake conversations or interest in things I have no interest in, nor do I want to compete with others for listening time. If I am in conversation with you and all you want to do is to talk about yourself and how lousy your life is or how important your life is compared to others, then I don’t want to be your conversation partner. In other words, don’t waste my valuable precious time complaining to me about how miserable your life is or how important you are, because you have no idea what others might be dealing with on a daily basis. And they don’t burden the world with their problems or their inflated ego.
c) Simplicity = without it, life becomes a meaningless drudgery. The trend these days is to complicate everything. Workplaces are exercises in frustration and lack of effectiveness because administrative routines and rules have become too complicated. We worship on the altar of triviality. At home, the same can be true. I’d rather cook simple hearty meals from scratch, with fresh vegetables and foodstuffs, than load us up with excess salt and sugar from processed foods, pre-packaged foods, or foods that have been suffocated in plastic to ‘protect’ them (plastic wrapped so tightly around vegetables that it cannot be healthy for them). Why can’t vegetables and fruit be free and uncovered? Why must we waste time, money and energy on packing each individual vegetable into its own plastic housing? Why can’t we keep it simple? Grow some of our own vegetables, or support local farmers who do. Buy unpackaged vegetables or those that will be tossed away because they don’t ‘look’ appealing. Cut down on the amount of food purchased. You don’t need pantries stocked full of food, unless you believe the apocalypse is coming.
d) Farewell to competition and to expectations = I’ve reached that point. I no longer want to compete. I don’t see the point of competition anymore. I no longer want expectations of greatness placed upon my shoulders by others who mean that I should aim high and have grandiose ambitions. Those days are gone; they belong to a past time when I was much younger. I’ve seen the light and accepted it, why can’t my leaders at work also see it? My super-productive days are over. I want an ordinary life, with ordinary cares and small worries each day. I want to putter, to garden, to hang out at home, to pursue my hobbies, to not have to measure up to specific metrics imposed on me at work, and to not have to worry about how I look or what I wear. If I want to walk around in jogging pants and sneakers, so be it. I want to walk in the sunshine, to be free to do so, to not have time constraints on me, to not have to have homework anymore in the form of articles to write or articles to read or review. I want to be free of grant applications and progress reports. I want peace, quiet, real communication, simplicity, and an unencumbered life.