Welcome to the second post of my “Midnight Munchies” series, where I jot down some of my thoughts and invite you discuss them with me. This loose sort of series is designed to be read when you can’t get to sleep, or to unwind your mind after you get home. You guessed it, this one for the more introverted. So I invite you to comment, share and let me know what you think! Also be aware that these are entirely biased and opinionated so I look forward to being disproven!
Let’s establish some rules. By limiting yourself, I am referring to rules that would have previously been established by some sort of religious or family authority. We live in a world where -thank God- we are becoming truly more free day by day. The fact that more and more people are treated like individuals, full of their own worth and richness, is something we should all be celebrating. Although sometimes we feel like there is a lot of evil in the world, and undoubtedly there is, politics aside we’re doing alright here in the western world.
Thing is.. when you have more free will, you obviously have more extremism jumping around and more and more people going from being interested in a topic, to being totally engrossed and finally somewhat obsessed with it. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the internet has bread a lot of obsession. We used to be a lot different in the old days of the internet- obsessions like taking selfies all the time, updating about your life and talking constantly about TV shows or books were seen as weird, because they are slightly abnormal. I mean people do get excited and follow whatever they like, but we were never so open about it. We never got the opportunity to speak to other people about it before the rise of certain social platforms like tumblr or reddit.
I’m touching upon a very very small influence that the internet has had on us, in combination with a lack of common values. Let me explain. I feel like people need a structure in life, and the rise in anxiety and depression among our generation is due to the lack of responsibility. I am going to be kind of re-wording what JB Peterson says throughout his work, but with a bit of a twist.
It seems to me that a lot of people have a lot of us young people have no structure in life. A lot of us were thrown into university without a clue about anything along the lines of taxes, cooking or how to rent a house. The education system had failed us thus far, and it will fail us yet again providing very little in terms of experience that we need to get a job. This makes us dead afraid- petrified- of taking up responsibility. We’re stuck in a limbo of being desperate to get a job after university and not have responsibility because so many of us feel like we are actually incapable of taking on responsibility and the job will be better left to someone more experienced than us. But that’s not how we learn.
I think this is where setting rules for yourself comes in. Call me old fashioned, but I do see the point of trying to avoid what religious people would call “sin” especially if you are a creative person like me, and struggle to find structure in life. I think it brings a lot of value to life when you limit yourself. I don’t mean really critically, but enough so that you can ask yourself if some of the habits you have are healthy for you. Should I be smoking? Should I be eating meat with every meal? Should I binge drink? Should I try and fix broken or toxic relationships?
I think taking a step back and having your own commandments and rules doesn’t only protect you from possible addictions, but also gives you a goal in life. Life starts becoming less about what you could get or how you could get it and more about who you are and how you get to where you want to be as a person. You start thinking about your actions and how they effect other people and most importantly how they effect you.
Is there a point to being a slave to your mind, rather than using it as a tool?
I think this applies especially when talking about work and putting in the work and effort. We all struggle with motivation and procrastination; however, as young people we have one great advantage – it’s easier for us to learn new habits. So it’s a good idea to set yourself rules that may have a dramatic effect on your life. Think about it. What if you always got up at the same time and did 15 min of writing (or insert any other skill you’d like to learn) in the morning, right after breakfast? That’s a 100% improvement from sitting on your phone scrolling and thinking “I’m too tiered to do this now, my life is sooo busy, but I’ll do it another day- for sure.”
Obviously, this is just a short post that is condensing a lot of my personal journey with self improvement across mental & physical health, spirituality, motivation and goal setting. I just wanted to touch upon it because I believe it’s something important that some people rarely consider outside of “get inspired to go to the gym” youtube videos. Maybe you’re feeling down because your life doesn’t have meaning? In that case- go out and give it meaning by working for it. Maybe you feel like your life has no meaning because you’re avoiding responsibility, and prefer being wrapped up in the blanket of safety and certainty, accepting a mediocre place in society for yourself.