My son, Gabe, is home from college. Yesterday while sitting in our dining room downing a quart or so of ice cream he said to me, “We have always been a family of life-hacking.” It caught my attention and I asked him what he meant. So began another interesting and philosophical conversation with the man who has grown up in my house.
He went on, “We are very frugal with things we don’t really care about and spend a lot of money on things that matter a great deal to us.” Looking beneath the surface of his commentary I saw a life that was not so much intentionally off the beaten path as it was on a path of its own. That said, ours is not a radical departure from 21st century life. Though I have sometimes taken the road less traveled (creating experimental theater for ten years, heading out on vision quests, and so), I see significant integration with mainstream society, too. It’s a bit of both: creative artistry and adaptive entrainment.
In this, I am not alone. Today it’s much easier to find your own niche, rather than being trapped to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before. With technology opening up new worlds and communities on every possible topic and concern, relationships with experts and thought leaders widely available, and knowledge on every topic at our fingertips, everyone has the opportunity to define success, contribution, and make their life a work of art. Make is the operative word in that last sentence, because none of this comes freely nor without effort. But, it is there for the creating. But, of course, we are social and all of this customization and individualization ends up contributing to and fashioning the larger tapestry of which we are all a part.
What nuance might you fashion this week to suit your aspirations or express your creative inclinations?
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
– Joseph Campbell