By: Shannon Swain
In the past year, I've noticed just how much of my life is wrapped up in consuming what is out there, and how much of my life is spent actually savoring life. Last month, I spent over $500 on going out, shopping, movies, etc. When I get home after work or spending money with friends, I binge watch Netflix or scroll through the infinite universe of Instagram. My brain is slowly but surely getting more and more dull as I feed it nothing but junk. It's such an unsatisfactory way of living, but it's what I know. I'm wrapped up in a shallow way of living that has no true goal other than comfort.
Now, in recent months, I've been putting up an effort to truly appreciate life and experience the infinite possibilities which God has given me. I've started spending more time outdoors, reading more poetry, playing the cello and ukulele, and working out a little bit. Those things don't sound like much, but do you even realize how much effort it takes to just stop consuming and start experiencing? It's one of the most difficult things to do.
Learning the cello and ukulele has relieved more stress, and caused more joy than watching Netflix ever has. Why? It's productive. It feeds both mind and soul. It's a brain activity, and a heart resonation.
Spending more time outside has seriously caused me to have an appreciation for life. Walking around just looking at the sky has got to be one of my favorite things to do. It always reminds me of how small I am, how big the world is, and that even the clouds got every last drop of God's attention. His glory shines in his creation, and seeing that is so good.
One of my biggest wake up calls to this sad dead end way of living was my grandparents. They are about 80, and live meal to meal. They watch TV all day, maybe go to the store every couple days. It seems as though they are wasting away amongst all the comfort they've created. No longer do they have a goal, since they have achieved the ultimate level of comfort in their retirement. I looked at them, and I realized that comfort and happiness are two very different things.
When I observed this way of life, I realized the absence of quality. You're not really living. At that point you've merely chained yourself to an existence rather than experience. We have infinite possibility through God, so why do we revert to the ways of the world, and let the money determine our lives? It's because it's a comfortable thought to think that we're in control of our lives. It's comfortable to be in charge of our own contentment. And then when we reach the age of retirement, what else is there to do?
I guess what I'm trying to say is don't waste away amongst all the money making and luxuries that have been handed to you. Do something that stirs your heart. Find something your passionate about, besides money, and pursue it. We have legs that can climb mountains, and eyes that create constellations. We have hands that can garden, and voices that can share Christ's love. So try reading or rollerblading or dancing. Experience what possibilities we have as human beings, don't let money run your life.