Living our best lives

I have to admit that I live in a bit of a bubble. I don’t watch commercial television or listen to commercial radio. I don’t read newspapers (online, or paper).

I have terms like “Donald Trump”, “Scott Morrison” and “politics” blocked on Twitter.

I really don’t need the ongoing train wreck of Western politics in my face – even occasionally.

And then there’s commercial TV and radio – swamped by cheap to produce reality TV, “current affairs” programs that platform racists in the name of “balance” and ignore the very real problems in the world in favour of tabloid sensationalism.

I’m happy in my bubble honestly. I spend my work times with interesting people who on the whole care about the sort of things I care about – social justice, tolerance, freedom – people who understand that the world is bigger than them and requires an open mind.

As I write this, I am in Canberra. I stopped earlier at a self serve car wash to wash my car and (disappointingly) had to listen to a commercial radio station for the 15 minutes it took me to clean the car.

It reaffirmed to me that I haven’t been missing anything. From the inane banter about clothing to the news items delivered in the most effective way to make a listener feel stressed about things that don’t actually matter.

It was all just noise. Noise that, if you let it, will drown out the things in life that do matter. This is the very real problem with the “modern condition” living in a place like Sydney.

I heard recently of a man, who emigrated to Australia from India and settled in Sydney. He found employment and has been living like so many of us do – working to pay the rent and have some free time and money to enjoy himself.

His realisation though is profound: he has decided to return to the small town that his family comes from in India – because the quality of life there, while modest, is better for him than the kind of life that we live here in Sydney. In his home town he doesn’t have a lot of money, but he has time – time to spend with friends and family doing whatever they want to, or even nothing at all. He may not have great restaurants to go to like we do, but food is cheap and he and his family have time to cook and share good meals.

The list goes on, but I think that you can see the point I am making – we sacrifice a lot living in a place like Sydney. Our lives are driven by work. Our free time is seriously restricted by the daily requirement to earn money to pay rent.

A semi-rural lifestyle with limited money may not seem like the best life to you and me – we have grown up in a different way and have different expectations – but I think that it can still teach us something.

That lesson is: we shouldn’t see work and the assumption that we must all do it all the time as an inherently good thing. For most of us it is a necessary thing, but it tends to draw us away for the fundamentals of human nature – that is connections with the people around us, the sharing of simple pleasures, and time to just “be”, rather than “do”.

I think that this lesson is particularly relevant when considering my industry. Paying for the services of a male escort like myself absolutely costs money. But it’s trading money not for another “thing” in ones life, but for an experience. The older I get, the less interested I become in having things in my life and the more I value the experiences I have with other people.

Much like the gentleman from India, what I really want is to live a life full of people and new experiences with them. I think that, if anything, is the way to live a fulfilling life.

John.