A roof, a screen and someone to love

I’ve been struggling. Finding it hard to find time for all the things I want to do. To train and move. To review and reflect. To assess where I am and where I’m heading. To maintain relationships and build new ones.

As a result, these last few months, whilst being some of the best of my life, have also provided me with the most intense feelings of anxiety and angst to date.

But I’m not worried. I’ve been here before. I know what I need to do. But knowledge isn’t the problem. Adherence is. Modifying behaviour on the basis of knowledge isn’t easy. Ask any smoker or heavy drinker. They know they’re polluting their lungs. They know that with every inhalation and every sip they’re chopping off a small part of their future. Like a twisted sort of Chinese water torture, they’re killing themselves, moment by moment. 

Knowledge like that is easily attained. But allowing that knowledge to change your life is hard.

Bob Lesfetz pens one of the most consistently entertaining newsletters around. Each edition is both passionate and insightful. You can feel Bob’s blood and energy dripping through his words. 

A few weeks ago, he sent out a piece called “Signifiers Disappear.” It’s about the death of things that we use to signal prestige, status and wealth to one another. It’s a world where access is prized more than ownership, and things like expensive cars and luxurious suburban mansions don’t matter. When the poor can play with the same toys and tools as the rich, the game is no longer the same. There has to be a different way to set yourself apart. 

The piece ends with the following few lines. 

“So what do you need?

A roof over your head, a screen and someone to love.

That’s about it.

Oh, and a job. So you can partake of experiences. So you have something to do. Work will become about fulfilment more than paying one’s bills.

The times they are a-changin’.”

Gratitude presents itself as this new age, hippy-dippy idea. Some spiritual fad. But it’s not. Yes, thinking about being thankful for all you have may strike you as boring. “Surely there’s a more revolutionary, exciting, interesting way to feel better and be happier?” Nope.

All you have to do is ask yourself one question: what more do I need? The answer in Bob’s world is composed of four things. A roof over your head. A screen. Someone to love. And a job.

But Bob’s world is my world too. And yours. It’s the one you and I inhabit as well. And if we have those four things, really, what more do we need? If we have those things, don’t we have enough? If we have those things, isn’t the only obstacle standing in the way of a profound sense of happiness our own ingratitude?