It did feel a little formal and forced, however. And it reminded me of times, long ago now, when I would do things like that.
- tucked-in shirt
- uncomfortable shoes
- ironed pants
- attending functions I would rather not
It reminded me that my goal in life has always been to be and become as liberated as possible. We are all bound by social structures of some sort. One way is to accept them and carry on. There is plenty of good stuff within the confines of conformity. This has never been my way, however. I have never enjoyed forced conversations, false politeness, pressured attendance of functions or events not of my choosing....
I realised, looking at this photo, that I have come a long way.
- I'm almost always barefoot or in sandals
- I wear comfortable shorts all year
- All my shirts have the sleeves cut off
- I no longer attend stiff or formal gatherings
- I am not expected to behave in any certain way by anyone
And the important thing here is that this is the way I prefer to be. This is how I function most efficiently. The less stress, expectation, pressure: the better. I rarely get mail, my phone almost never rings, I don't get invited to dinners or parties.... and I am so relieved.
It's not that I am shy or do not like people. I love human interaction. It's just I don't like feeling trapped or having things expected of me. When I go to the local cafe in the afternoon, all the staff knows me and we joke around. Same as poker in the evenings; it's very friendly and social. But it's also very accepting. If you don't feel like chatting - you don't.
I guess I have found a place, sculpted a format of existence, that is well suited to my lone wolf, artistic gypsy temperament. I realised all this, just now, seeing that photo. I could see where my cuz is at. He may, too, liberate himself. He may not need to. He may love his place already. But me, I found that way of living to constricting. I had to get divorced, I had stop wearing shoes, I had to curtail social interactions that were no longer meaningful or rewarding. I had to move out of the big city.
Instead, I spend time alone, thinking, making art, reading, writing, playing games, joking around... all the good stuff. Simple, nourishing, natural activities. The stuff that I have always enjoyed the most. If - or when - I can make a more than just surviving living out of it all - then I will add travel and driving a nice car to the list. Until then I'll count my blessings.
If you are able to claim what you need in life, and you can, then you should. Only you know what best suits you. Find it, work it out, go for it. You'll never have it all - but, hey, you might just find the less you've got the better.