Sunday, June 17, 2018

STUFFOCATION: Happy as I am

I'm still reading STUFFOCATION by James Wallman and here comes the part that truly resonated with me: Why the medium chill matters. What it is saying is exactly what I was just saying to my family and friends very recently, and it's a principle I've been holding on firmly for years. I wasn't using the term 'medium chill' but the principle is the same.

Wallman says that medium chill is not an apathetic, can't-be-bothered sort of outlook on life, but is a far more ambitious and active idea. (p.145)

I'm happy with my current position at work and I actively seek out opportunities that will bring me one step closer to the life I want. I love a simple drama-free life, one that brings bread to the table but still gives me time to enjoy the life I want (travel, read, write), one that gives just the right level of stress... you get the idea. I've been working hard for more than 20 years to achieve this dream. It was not a straightforward career path because of my background, but still, the journey was a thrill.

I love my current job. I have no desire climb the endless career ladder but that doesn't mean I'm a slacker. Far from it. I still do my best and play hard. It's enjoyable, it pays well, and I still get to be Alice. Outside of work, I am learning languages, reading books, pursuing interesting ideas and carrying out experiments, traveling, volunteering, spending time with my family and friends.

So, when I read this statement in STUFFOCATION, I was nodding my head wildly in agreement:

This is precisely why the medium chill is such a radical idea, and why it is worth thinking about. Because, at its heart, the medium chill can protect you from one of the least pleasant aspects of our current system: the bullying sense that you have no choice and there is no way out. It is not, to be clear, the sort of down-tools, do-nothing protest you might hear from a slacker. It offers a real alternative to the motorway of materialism. It is a signpost, if you like, to another way of living, one which is slower and gentler and more human. (p.146)

[...]

In today's system you are supposed to always say yes to material success, no matter what. But in a system where medium-chill values hold sway, you can make another choice. In the world of the medium chill, you can measure your achievements in different way, you can turn off the supercharged road of materialism, and take a slower, more laid-back route, and not to worry what other people will say. (p.147)

There are certainly times of hard work and alongside those period, there is also plenty of time for chilling. Don't let the quantity of stuff take over our quality of life. Don't get caught in the work-hard, play-hard, spend-a-lot trap of consumerism. I am happy as I am.