The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bonding and desert islands

Lonesome People

I usually get up at 6:30 a.m. to exercise for 30 minutes in the attic. I've been able to maintain this habit because I keep telling myself that it's essential...and it is.

Yesterday, I was up there working up a sweat when a thought popped into my head: what is the single most important thing in life, besides our very basic necessities?

Later, after showering and breakfast, and since there were no urgent translations on the agenda, I began listing things I could live without. You know, the objects today's trendy minimalists are disdaining such as television, cars, gadgets, clutter and so on. But that got tedious pretty quick.

Then an idea struck me! Why not just wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. In other words, instead of eliminating "things" why not ask the essential question, "what's the one thing that I could not possibly live without?"

It only took a few seconds to root out a firm answer: people.

Just imagine waking up one day and finding yourself on a desert island, forever. Not a very appealing predicament, more like a nightmare. 

Although that's a weird and completely unrealistic scenario, it led me straight to what I was looking for.

People! That's so obvious, even a gaming-addicted teenager could tell you that.

So I dug deeper and concluded that we need to engage with people. That's what we do at work, with salespeople and taxi drivers. But engagement has to go deeper than that, otherwise it's mere fluff.

What we need is friends. Whew, I'm a master at coming to obvious conclusions. How do you think I got a Philosophy Degree? Come on, dig deeper.

What we really need, what is absolutely essential, are persons with whom we can share our life experience. Now that sounds a bit more philosophical.

And what's "life experience?" It's that magical quality that makes every individual unique, unexplainable and incomparable...those little nuances that can evoke all kinds of emotions in others, some good some bad. Oh yes, I'm on a roll now.

Real living starts when we begin to bond and share. Without it, we are doomed to trod along a desolate and meaningless path going nowhere. Jackpot!

You know all this, just like you know that exercising every day is essential.

So, what's the moral of the story?

Think about the small (big) things that really matter in your life. Focus on and repeat them to yourself and they will eventually come true.

Take action!

I remember someone saying that "if you know something but don't act on it, it's the same as not knowing it.

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