Volume 57: Life As A Fraction

Posted on 07/07/2011

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The Simple Things In Life

Remember when we were kids in school? Sometimes I think about that time fondly and realize how simple life was back then (although we didn’t know how simple it was until we got older). One of my best subjects as a fledgling genius was math. I was good at it and enjoyed it immensely. There were two main things that I loved about math. The first was the fact that math computations have only one answer. There weren’t any PhD’s pontificating on the veracity of my answer. No. Two plus two equalled four. Nice and neat. The second thing that I loved about math is, whenever possible, you tried to reduce problems to the smallest possible unit(s). Reduction made the computation simpler and easier to manage. That got me to thinking about life. We just celebrated the Fourth of July this past weekend. I watched the parties, and read the status updates and tweets regaling about long weekend vacations filled with new and exciting activities. I say I watched all these things because I chose to take a different route. I chose to reduce my weekend to the base-level activities that I enjoy – golf, cooking, and hanging with family and friends. I simplified my weekend which made it easier to manage. It also made it more enjoyable. I enjoyed it so much that it inspired this week’s post. Simply stated in math terms, I enjoyed my Life As A Fraction.

Simplify versus Amplify

We worked hard through high school and college (well, some of us did) to “amplify” our lives. Amplifying means having a better car, house, vacations, restaurant options, party invitations, etc. We try to amplify in almost every endeavor. For example, the rare times I go to a club, I refuse to wait in line, and absolutely hate not being in VIP. I have turned up (aka amplified) my club experience to the point that I won’t go back. Think about your life. Are there some things that you used to do or accept that you can’t or won’t any longer? I’m sure there are. Larger offices, luxury cars, and lavish homes are representations of the “American Dream”, aren’t they? Freedom is characterized not by being able to do what you want, but by actually doing it, right? From a personal, cultural and, sometimes, spiritual context, amplification makes sense. Then why, does it seem, that so many people are unhappy? Why do we have to find new and more exciting ways to amplify our lives? We seem to be in constant pursuit of achieving the so-called “next level”. What if the “next level” is not a destination, but a journey? Can happiness truly be achieved if we don’t know where we are going or how to get there?

Here’s a suggestion: When amplification has you worn out, stressed out, broke and bothered, try simplifying. Simplifying is reducing your life and world to your core needs – to those things that make you happy regardless of where you are, who you are with, and how much it cost. One of my favorite activities in the world is wrestling on the floor with my son. It doesn’t cost me anything. I don’t have to go anywhere. Hell, I don’t even have to shower (if you just said “ewwwww” that means you’re paying attention, LOL!). I just get on my knees and let him jump all over me as we laugh. Those moments cannot be found via Travelocity, Expedia, or MapQuest. Those moments don’t take reservations, don’t have a VIP section, and definitely don’t charge $25 for your first piece of checked luggage. Those moments mean so much to me, and probably more to him. Those moments are simple, elegant, and priceless.

Conclusion

I said this past week on the 3 Degrees of Separation Talk Show, “Simplifying your life can be just as rewarding as amplifying it.” I truly believe that. Don’t get me wrong, I still love going on trips, and flying first class, and ballin’ out in the VIP section; at the same time, I balance that with wrestling on the floor, a round of golf, and a beer on the back porch. Simplifying from time to time provides perspective for it quiets the noise that we create by our continuous pursuit of amplification. I stated earlier that amplifying your life is a journey. If that is the case, then simplifying it are the rest stops along the way.

That’s just my three cents…

Sill-E

“Peep my ver-na-cular cuz I don’t know how to act…”

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