Most of us want to live life on our own terms but the ideals we have about what it looks like vs. what it is when we try, are worlds apart. We come up against the dark, ugly, and painful stuff, and we turn and run back the other way. That is why more of us want to live life on our terms, and some of us do to a certain degree, and we will decide that we want to, but end up not doing it in the end.
The hardest misconception to reconcile of these would have to be that living life on our terms means, everything I don’t like should go away and I should only have what I do like. We expect our lives to become what we have always wanted them to be. We haven’t lost, changed, or given up anything we like about our lives currently, in the process. We are happy instantly.
In reality, we lose, change, and give up just about everything. It’s painful, hard, and not much fun sometimes, especially in the beginning. We like having homes, jobs, and people around us. We wish we could have more of what we really want but will gladly give the happiness that might bring us up to not be homeless, jobless, and friendless, even for short periods of time. To truly live life on your terms, there is a high risk that you will experience all of them.
If that doesn’t scare the shit right out of you, I don’t know what will. When you really want to live your life on your terms, those things won’t matter. You’ll choose homeless and happy over a big house and bills piling up that make you want to cut your own throat without hesitation. Then, you will figure out how to prevent being homeless or limit how long you stay that way, and work your ass off get where you want to be. When you accomplish it on your terms, not anyone else’s, that is when you are truly happy.
There are so many misconceptions about living life on your terms that I could never list or address them all in my lifetime, so I chose the 6 most relevant for me right now and will address more as time goes on. These are the remaining 5.
- You can do whatever you want, when you want, and how you want.
- If I am living life on my terms, then I am stress free and no longer have any problems.
- I’ll have all the stuff I’ve ever dreamed of. Big house, fancy car…
- I’ll never have to work again.
- I’ll be surrounded by the people I love forever and always
You can do whatever you want, when you want, and how you want.
You absolutely can! When you begin to live life on your terms, you take responsibility for your life out of other people’s hands and place it firmly in your own. You make your own rules, set your own hours, live where you want to live, drive what you want to drive, and have only the people around you that you want around you.
The reality is that with that responsibility, comes the consequences. You can’t take one without taking both. If the consequences of your rules mean people are angry with you and your behavior, then people are angry with you. If you decide you only want to work 4 hours but the task you need to accomplish is going to take 8, you have to work the 8 or the task won’t get done. If tasks don’t get done, you aren’t driving that $80,000 sports car you want.
This concept alone prevents many of us from living life on our own terms. We want the stuff and the happy, but we want it easy and painless. If that is you, turn back now. It just gets darker and more painful from here.
If I am living life on my terms, then I am stress free and no longer have any problems.
I can’t even pretend with this one. It scares the shit out of me. Life is ALWAYS problems. Death is the only thing that will ever make problems completely go away. We want no problems, or we want problems that can be solved easily and without any discomfort. That just isn’t the way life is.
This misconception is hands down the biggest reason for suicide, in my opinion. We don’t want problems that can’t be easily solved, and life is brimming with them. We want them to stop and after a while, we realize that death is the only way to make them stop… I’ve been suicidal, more than once. I’ve come close, more than once. I can tell you from experience that this is what drives people to it.
This doesn’t change because you are living life on your terms. Quite the opposite actually. You get more problems. You become your own boss and have to take responsibility for your own actions and accept the consequences that come about because of them. The upside is that you get to choose more of the the actions that you take to get the consequences you can live with.
I’ll have all the stuff I’ve ever dreamed of. Big house, fancy car…
Eventually, yes… maybe. This misconception runs deep. We seem to think that living life on our terms means that we suddenly have all the nice stuff we’ve always dreamed about having, because we made the choice, and now our lives are going to be perfect. We get disappointed and angry when it isn’t that easy.
Writing comes naturally for me and I really enjoy it. However, as a writer wanting to make writing my way of life, there is a lot more non-writing work than there is writing work, like bookkeeping and marketing. It’s a lot of work and I don’t like to do it. It’s part of the deal though. I accept that and when a new book is selling and I’m not in hot water with the IRS, it is all worth every bit of it. Living life on your terms doesn’t ever mean never having to work again. It actually means you’ll have to do more work than you ever did before. It’s worth it though and it doesn’t seem like work.
I’ll be surrounded by the people I love forever and always.
Stress is any conflict between what we want for ourselves and what is wanted for and from us.
No one will understand this better than an artist whose parents expected them to be a doctor.
People mean well. They want those they care about to be happy and comfortable, with a small caveat. That happy and comfortable has to make them happy and comfortable, too. When it doesn’t, all hell breaks loose. The battle begins. Either you will back down and become a doctor and they will support and encourage you every step of the way, or you will become an artist and you’ll get no help from them whatsoever. You choose.
What happens when we start to live life on our terms is, we become an artist instead of a doctor because it makes us happy. Their encouragement and support will make things more comfortable, but it won’t bring us happiness. We can live with it, as hard as it might be, because happiness, not comfort, is our terms.
Living life on your terms doesn’t mean things will be easier. It means you will be able to deal with them and be happy.