“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.” -Ernesto Guevara
Since turning 40, I have been really trying to figure stuff out. Actually, I have been trying to figure stuff out for a lot longer than that but recently things have started to become a little bit clearer.
What I have found is that everything in my life, that is not in my life because of love, causes misery and is therefore not in my life for very long. Girlfriends, jobs, education, possessions, food and workouts regimes have all come and gone. Only a few have made the cut and the reason for this is because my decision to allow them in my life was based on love. Anything that I brought into my life that was for any other reason than love, has either brought me misery, was temporary, or probably both.
I know there are people who make decisions that aren’t based on love and endure their decision for several years but they are miserable for the entire duration they stick with that decision. I have an example of this below, along with some personal examples of my own.
Ever date someone just because they were hot? C’mon! Just because you admit you were shallow before doesn’t mean you are now. Anyway, this is how it would go for me; See a hot girl, seduce her, sleep with her, can’t stand her, continue to sleep with her, hate myself, become miserable, break up with her. This whole process would take about three months for me. Sex with someone hot is fun but, if there is no love there, I find that fun is soon replaced with the desire to choke myself with my own bare hands. If you are with someone for any other reason than love, e.g. money, security, talent, status, personal benefit, sex, convenience, it will not last and you will be miserable in the process.
Here is some advice given to a 30-year-old woman by her 50-year-old mother when her 90-year-old husband was on his death bed, “Never marry for money.” Years and years of suffering were about to come to an end and yet she felt obligated to tell her daughter to not do what she did. It just wasn’t worth it.
I may hold the Guinness book of world record for getting fired from the most jobs. I now know why. I worked for money, not for love. Because this was the case, I became miserable and it was reflected in my work and my attitude. Some people are better at tolerating misery than me.
My grandfather worked at a factory on an assembly line for as long as I can remember until he retired. He was a miserable S.O.B. until then too. Funny, I remember him saying to me once that when he retired he was going to get a pickup truck so he can haul his lawn mower around and mow lawns. This man loved to cut lawns so much that it’s what he wanted to do when he retired. It never happened. Soon after his retirement, my grandmother totaled her car and they had to use what little money they had to replace it. He spent the next few years taking care of my sick grandmother and after she passed he slowly deteriorated to nothing. The happiest I ever saw him was in those last years of his life when he no longer had to work that terrible, terrible job.
Personally, the worst experiences of my life have been school. I didn’t actually mind being there. I had friends and stuff so that was cool. Plus there was a high concentration of girls there. It was those hours and hours of sitting on my ass trying to learn about stuff I had no interest in. That was a living hell. I was a terrible student and did not know if I was actually going to graduate until I took my English final just hours before I was to receive my diploma. Fast forward to several years later. I get my grades in the mail from my first complete semester at a community college and they are all A’s. I don’t think I have ever gotten an A, much less straight A’s in my life. (Actually, I may have gotten an A in drivers ed. I was a senior when I took it. I had been driving for two years.) How was I, a supposed dummy, able to pull off a 4.0 GPA? I took classes in subjects that interested me, ones that I loved.
If someone goes to college for any other reason than to study something they love, e.g. because society deems it necessary, their parents want them to, their friends are going, or because they think it will result in a good job, not only are they wasting a lot of money, they are going to be miserable. Not only during their time in college but for as long as they work in the very field they got their degree in. The degree in the subject they didn’t love. Unless of course, they quit that job… or get fired.
I once sold a paid for 4×4 SUV to replace it with a newer model sedan for the sole purpose of saving gas. I sold that car and bought a 4×4 truck a year or two later. A couple years after that, I did it again thinking of all the money I was going to save on gas. That car is gone too. I am back to driving a gas guzzling 4×4 SUV. It’s the exact same model as the one I originally had at the beginning of this paragraph. I love it and am completely content with it, crappy gas mileage and all.
I used to think, getting a great deal was a good reason to make a purchase. Every time I had to move I would have a butt ton of clothes and stuff that I got from the thrift store that I would have to give back, sometimes with the tags still on them. I was making decisions based on price not on whether I really loved the item and as a result, every one of those items did not stick around long.
Some more bad reasons to buy things: It’s in style, because so and so has one, because you can, to impress someone, and because you deserve it — to name a few. Make a purchase for any of these reasons and you will find yourself making a trip to Goodwill or worse, selling it on e-bay for a fraction of what you paid for it.
Ever try to choke down something you don’t like but it was supposed to be good for you? It sucks. You might do it once, twice or maybe even for a month but you will not do it for very long. This is why diets don’t work. You are eating food you don’t love and the purpose is for vanity, not love. It’s kind of a double whammy! The key to sticking to a healthy regimen is eating HEALTHY foods you love for the reason of self-love because you want to improve your health and life. If your reasons are for anything else, like looking hot, it won’t last. I used to eat those packages of seasoned Starkist tuna several times a day until I got to the point that I was literally gagging with every spoonful. That was about 12 years ago. I haven’t eaten one of those since.
Same thing with exercise. If you don’t actually love it, you won’t be doing it for very long. This is why gyms are successful. They sell memberships to people who they know are not going to come, not for very long anyway. Within the past couple years, I have discovered rock climbing and I love it. I currently go about three times a week and have been for a couple years now. I never dread it. A few months ago I started a gymnastics workout routine. It was not as much fun, so guess what happened to that?
What are your decisions based on, love or fear?
Every decision in life is based on two emotions; Love or Fear. Yes, there are other emotions but they are merely a subcategory of these two. Neale Donald Walsch covers this subject fairly well in
“Conversations with God” (Book I) so I’m not going to get into this too much right now. But let me point out that if I look back at all my bad decisions, I can easily see that they were based on fear. Fear of what others would think, fear of losing out on a good deal, fear of being overweight.
Since coming to this conclusion, I have made every effort possible to do things because of love. This allows me travel, to write, to fish, to camp, and to give talks, and help people achieve their goals. I have learned to quit worrying about money, my weight, and all the other crap we tend to think is important and just enjoy my life.