As we age, we have the tendency to let ourselves get desensitized. We let the world make us numb to everything around us, all stimuli. Horror movies don’t scare us anymore, roller coasters lose their thrill, and the Autumn smell of burning leaves no longer excites us.

There are two things in adulthood that do this to us.

  1. The first of these is “experience.” We can’t expect the same experience to give us the same excited feeling the 100th time as it did the 1st time. This is just the body and mind adapting. For many aspects in life, this would be a positive thing, but for positive feelings/sensations it is a bummer.
  2. “Adult Brain” (that is what I like to call it anyway). On our journeys to adulthood we develop a sense of routine and responsibility, which in turn develops a habit of constant future planning combined with “elsewhere focus”. Always our mind is on the next responsibility, the next task. Often even when there is no hurry and we have plenty of time. Seldom are we focused on the here and now.

If we are to continue to find joy in life, we have to do our best to fight these bad habits we develop into adulthood. We have to maintain and/or regain our sensitivity to the experiences and sensations around us.

Here are some ways I have discovered to kick our numbness, and regain sensitivity, excitement, and appreciation for the world around us. Ways to rediscover value in experiences we have forgotten:

  • Live a more Minimalist lifestyle. It’s simple: Fewer possessions, fewer unnecessary activities that add little value, fewer relationships that add little value, all lead to less responsibility. Free up our lives and minds to let real life find it’s way in again.
  • Add meditation and mindfulness to our lives. Through meditation and meditative practices, we can make ourselves sensitive again to the fruits life has to offer. These are mental practices that re-teach us to live in the moment and be fully present.
  • Re-learn how to live again from our children. I bet you never though the little children had anything to teach YOU. During moments when we spend time with our children, let them lead the way, and let ourselves dive in to those moments (minds hearts and hands). Children will bring us back to the world, to the joys and discovery of so much we have forgotten and taken for granted. Children will bring us back to appreciating the simple things in life again.

I happen to believe that this numbness we gain in adulthood is one of the things that fuel our desire to live a life of excess. After all, if we become numb to the sensations around us, we are naturally going to look for the next “fix” somewhere else; when nature and life’s natural thrills no longer satisfy, we look to possessions to fill that desire.


From Metropolis to Ghost Town

I enjoy taking trips to the city (Manhattan). Being from upstate NY I make a point to do so at least once a year. I enjoy the lights, hustle and bustle, and the culture. And from a spectator perspective I DO enjoy watching the commerce; similar to how a wild life experts (Steve Irwin comes to mind) like to observe strange animals in their natural habitat. As a Minimalist, I observe and cringe at all the excess going on, the constant pointless consumption, the desire for instant retail gratification. To me it’s like watching the scene of an accident: We don’t wanna see it, yet our fascination prevents us from looking away.

I would find myself sometimes wishing it would all just STOP. No more over-consumption. No more people packing in stores to buy shit they don’t need. Hoping that this age of excess would end; that cosmetic businesses would END, and we could get back to basics.

But we must be careful what we wish for.

NOW ……. in the wake of COVID 19 ……… and the George Floyd riots, what was once a Metropolis is now a ghost town. And I find myself sad………(sigh).

While I did not care for the marketing and consumption aspect of Times Square, I was very much in love with the social scene, the culture. But when it crashes like this, one can not perish without the other.

It would be ok if this was only temporary, but these businesses are CLOSED …… for good. And there may be no recovering Times Square. We are in the midst of a socioeconomic change that may leave us in a slump for a very long time. I DID want a culture change back to basics, but not like this, ……. never like this. The way it was supposed to happen was in a manner which brought people together, a slow collective realization of a  better way to live. It was not supposed to occur as a crash that tares people apart.

The main idea of a life free of excess, a life free of distraction, is to permit us more time, energy, and clarity to focus on the elements of our lives that actually DO add value. And there is nothing more valuable in our lives then establishing and maintaining strong connections with people, with our community, and humanity at large. Right now that connection is more lost than it has ever been in my lifetime.

Now ……. we are taring down these connections, and we don’t even have “retail therapy” to fall back on to give us a false sense of comfort; this is turn, just frustrates us and makes us angrier, especially while in quarantine.

Once COVID-19 passes, and it is time to rebuild, lets start rebuilding by reconnecting with our community and humanity. Once that is done, we will understand how to best rebuild our businesses.

Fantasizing is Indulgent Clutter for the Mind

Fantasizing is the haven for the ungrateful.

For starters, it is important not to confuse fantasizing with needing or even wanting. Having desires is healthy, and even necessary. Needing is desiring necessities (I don’t think this requires more justification). Wanting, is desiring an addition to our life that is somewhat thought through, that will add to the quality of our life; add to our joy. Fantasizing is a much wider form of wanting which is NOT thought through at all.

Fantasizing is completely emotion based. It’s a desire to feel something, to yearn for a different life, and focusing only on the wonderful benefits of that life.

The truth is we ALL do this from time to time in small pieces. We are sitting in our car listening to love songs of the 80’s, longing for the kind of love that these artists so vividly illustrate for us. We sit in our home looking out the window at the snow keeping us inside, and fantasize about how much we’d rather live on a beach down south where we can feel the sun on our skin every day; feel the sand on our feet, and hear the wave’s crash.

The problem is that these fantasy thoughts and feelings are just visions of pleasurable moments. So we never follow the thought process through to their logical ends, if we had we actually pursued our fantasies.

Using the two examples above, I will lay out why fantasies are just illusions.

Love songs and romantic movies are fictions that only focus on the infatuation, the romance, and the subtle joys of the relationship. Realistically this in only half the story. Love is compromise, work, and dedication too.

The fantasy of changing our environment or location (climate, terrain, or whatever) doesn’t work either. This is because every location, every climate has it’s downside. We may not be fully aware of it because we don’t live in it, and we are too focused on the things we don’t have in our current environment. We are simply viewing a new life from a “vacation” mindset …….not in a “residential” mind set, and that’s not realistic.

Now ……. There are two reasons why fantasies are illusions and not helpful. The first I just illustrated in the two examples above. In a nutshell “Fantasies don’t paint the whole realistic picture”. We might have already known that intrinsically, and were just unwilling to acknowledge that. The second reason is not so obvious, and many of us won’t like it.

The second reason the fantasy is an illusion (and therefore unable to be applied as a reality) is because YOU are in it. No matter what your fantasy is, there you are, having all the fun. And because you fantasize so much in the first place, it’s only a matter of time until the “fantasy made reality” does not satisfy.

The thing is, in the end, we enjoy our fantasies just because they ARE fantasies. We humans have a tendency to get bored easily, and take that which we have for granted. No matter what our fantasy is, if we are to live out that fantasy, how long would that satisfy? One month? Maybe two years? How long until we yearn for something different or “better”? We could at that point learn to be grateful for what we have, but if we had done that at the start we would not have been driven to live this “fantasy life” in the first place, and I have no doubt that after some time in this “fantasy life” we start to long for the fruits we had in our original life.

Obsessive fantasizing of a different life occurs when we are ungrateful for our life as is.

This is just another example of something I have said many times before:
“Be grateful for what you have and you will want for less”

It is easy to spot the ungrateful, they all have one thing in common: No matter where they are, they’d rather be someplace else.

For those of us who fantasize a lot, here is a trick for turning that longing into gratitude:
Think about our fantasy (whatever it may be), but think of the ENTIRE picture. Not just the good stuff, but the bad ones too; the maintenance. The full reality. Then think of all the people that are living out our fantasy in real life. Then acknowledge that there are at least a few in that life, that fantasize about living a life JUST ……LIKE ……OURS.

Your welcome