On Peace of Mind

Do you ever find yourself just sitting on your computer, looking at things you want, imagining yourself possessing those things as a happier more satisfied person?

I just spent a good hour doing this looking at tattoos on Pinterest and leather motorcycle jackets. I don’t know exactly why the obsession, but my roommate wears a lot of black, has multiple leather jackets, rides a motorcycle, and is the only person I know with a tiny leather holster that she clips on her belt to stow away her lighter.

She has a strong, no bullshit personality balanced by a very maternal side. She works in bars and nightclubs, carries a knife with her at all times, and can do 5-6 good pull-ups.

I’ll see her drive away on her bike in all black and think to myself what a free spirit she is – young, unattached, exuding a confidence ready to lasso the world and wrestles it to the ground.

Maybe that’s why the obsession with tattoos and motorcycle jackets, or maybe it’s the fact that I think it’s good to surprise people or that the feeling of being pigeon-holed into a certain archetype based on appearance is not so good.

Tattoos and motorcycles – a chance to recreate yourself.

What eventually ends up happening everytime I find myself spending too much time looking at things that I don’t need or staring at the photos of other people’s travels abroad in Spain is that I get anxious and grow dissatisfied with everything around me.

Then an impossible and pointless mission unfolds to improve my circumstances: “Matt, you need to get out of the country or go on a road trip at least. Matt, you need to get a car for the winter so that you don’t have to take the bus. Matt, you need…” and on and on the list of worries grows.

It grows until red lights begin to flash and an alarm goes off, taking over my field of vision and hearing, until a giant mystical finger has pressed the FF button on my brain and thoughts are flying past uncontrolled and wreaking havoc on my psyche like a colossal meteor shower. Buildings crumble into the sea, the earth splits, and the atmosphere falls in pieces to the ground like a child chipping at old paint on a fence with a stick.

What happens next? What makes it all go away? 

Just one breath and buildings begin to reform. Another, and the earth bridges itself back together. A third, and the black canvas of infinite stars floats back into place, the red lights and alarms cease, and the mystical finger finds the SLOW button.

What I begin to realize, and what may happen for you to, is that those things, tattoos and motorcycles for example, are not needed to be happy. In fact, obsessing over what one doesn’t have nor need just leads to discontentment.

It doesn’t take much, really, to be happy: close friends and family and time to spend with them, meaningful work, a hot drink on a cold day and a cold drink on a hot one, letters from your friends, a good nap when you’re feeling tired. Joshua Fields Millburn says it better here.




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