Why Do We Yearn to Escape From Our Lives?

I’m an easy going girl with simple tastes. I don’t have an enormous bucket list filled with far-away destinations and extravagant desires. I have friends who want to visit every continent or touch their fingers in every ocean, but I don’t have such dreams. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly places I want to see, but if I never get to travel to those spots I won’t consider my life a giant disappointment.

I feel the same way about food. While some might dream of delectable and decadent meals in five star restaurants I often feel just as happy cooking a delicious meal from my very own kitchen. When the burners are lit I turn on music, light a few candles and crack open a beer. I typically snack while I cook, because the scents and aromas make it difficult to wait for the meal I’m preparing.

If you’ve read any piece of personal finance advice in the last decade you know that it’s imprudent to waste your money on material possessions. Let’s be honest we’ve all been told it’s downright stupid to spend money on things, right? It’s much better to blow your wads of cash on experiences that will provide a lifetime of memories. Give up clothing and fancy cars in exchange for cruising, flying around the world, skydiving, race car driving or any other activity you can imagine. Then you can spend your days talking about the sights you’ve seen, the musical venues you’ve visited and all of the amazing adventures you’ve experienced.

Don’t get me wrong. I wholeheartedly believe in a lifetime filled with enriching experiences. After all, who wants to wake up day after day putting on the same pair of pants, backing out of the driveway, driving to an unfulfilling job, wasting eight hours and then returning home to slap some food on the table, take a shower and go to bed. Repeat this same series of actions for days, weeks, months and years and yes you will most likely regret the time you’ve wasted here on earth.

But why are there such extremes in actions and desires? Why do we either have to do the same thing day after day or devote our lives to searching for exciting experiences? Is it just me or does it seem like the majority of people are searching for happiness in far away locations?

I’m not suggesting that you live a monotonous, joyless life, but rather that you find joy, adventure and enlightenment closer to home. Rather than dreaming of spending money on so many fabulous activities can you find happiness, for much less, every day?

Take food for example. Can you enroll in a local cooking class and learn to create culinary masterpieces in your very own kitchen? Can you search for a delectable, (perhaps even gourmet recipe), and make an adventure out of searching a new market for tasty ingredients? Can you gather up some of your favorite people, pour a few glasses of wine and enjoy the company of those who live close to you? Can you make the every day action of preparing dinner on a Saturday night a little more exciting?

One action does not discount the other. You don’t have to avoid restaurants and only cook at home, but I bet you can create a memorable experience within the confines of your primary residence. Rather than searching for out of the ordinary experiences why don’t we all devote a little more time to making every day activities a little more enjoyable?

When I read other FI and FIRE blogs I am always fascinated by those who wish to escape the monotony of their lives. So many bloggers want to escape the every day in search of some, alternative life full of fun and adventure. I completely understand the desire for more, but I also wonder why so much focus is directed outward to drastically changing one’s current course of action. Why isn’t that same focus turned inward to change the course of every day life?

If you’ve reached the end of this blog post I encourage you to search for happiness and joy in the actions you perform every day. Listen to intriguing podcasts on your ride to work, fill your life with friends and family who are willing to forgo fancy meals and extravagant vacations in favor of backyard barbecues, bonfires and s’mores. Learn to enjoy the food you prepare, after all, you have to eat at least two or three times a day. Watch movies that make you laugh or even better find yourself some friends that make you chuckle. Stop trying to escape from the life you live and instead find happiness right where you are.

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