What is it that we do with our days?
We, of course, enjoy what the world around us has to offer.
But do we also put things back out there? For ourself and for others?
Coffee in the morning and a glass of wine at night.
Some takeout for delivery. Or a nice meal out, at a local place.
Maybe some time to relax with some TV; the shows we follow and some we don’t. Sitcoms, maybe… some sports.
Shopping this weekend; perhaps cupcakes or cocktails or cleaning supplies on Saturday; maybe brunch on Sunday morning.
Music – all kinds – and devices on which to hear it.
Food and then perhaps more food – different food – when we get bored of that food. And that’s all okay.
I like baked goods. Actually, what I like is cookies. But I do not bake my own baked goods and I do not make my cookies. I buy them. I also rent DVDs sometimes and watch them with wine. I read books and I also like magazines. (In fact, I deliberately make extra time at the airport before my flights, because I feel weirdly compelled to spend several minutes looking at magazines in Hudson News. I do this even when I travel for work, when I am there every single week.) I like these things. I know you have your own.
It is so easy to consume. And it feels nice.
At least in the short term.
But what about the long term? Are we satisfied?
I think that perhaps we are not. I think that we all yearn for something a little bit more… at the end of the day; at the end of each year… at the end of our lives, in the very least.
With regard to what this means with regard to our personal satisfaction throughout life, the authors argue:
Boys base their identity on what they consume; men base their identity on what they create.
Fully functioning people – “adults,” I guess, but anyone who is living to their fullest capacity – are those who contribute to the world around them; who give in addition to enjoying what others before him have put out there.
When we put our heart into work and then put that work out into the world, we feel a deep sense of satisfaction – far more, even multitudes more, than when we consume alone. When we consume, all we do is pay others to create.
When you watch TV, for example, you are watching other people do what they love. Same with listening to music. Or shopping. Or eating out at a restaurant. All of these are situations in which you give someone else money for doing their art.
Want more satisfaction? Create more. Consume less.
Cook. Bake. Make. Plant a garden; tend to it. Take care of a lawn. Build a birdhouse. Build a treehouse. Build a beach house. Paint a portrait. Paint a wall. Write a book. Write music. Write a letter to a loved one. Develop a website. Develop some film. Do anything at all that yields a finished product.
I suppose that I could have written a longer post about this, but I don’t think I need to. I think the message is lost when I put it into essay form. I think the power is in the simplicity, and I think it is intuitive enough that it is more palatable in this form.