Michael Donovan is a New York-based photographer and hosts the Walking Home podcast.
“The first thing you do when you get out of VR is realize how great the graphics are in real life and you realize how great it is to be able to touch plants and smell flowers. Sure, maybe one day they’ll get it so you can smell things and touch things and make it feel more lifelike, but still there’s nothing like the wind. There’s nothing like the combination of the wind and flowers and sounds, you know what I mean?” –Michael Donovan
We love to punish ourselves by putting things we don’t have a pedestal. Maybe in your case it’s a particular car, job, watch, or even person you covet, maybe all of the above. Whatever your particular unrequited desire is, the game is the same and it’s inherently unwinnable. It’s literally an exercise in taking stock of what you don’t have, why you don’t have it and all the reasons you fall short of this hypothetical thing.
What’s worse is it’s not hard to pin down where this sort or obsession stems from. It’s simply the ego doing it’s thing, playing dress-up, considering which peacock feather it wishes to adorn to set itself apart.
By no means am I suggesting you should never improve your circumstances, upgrade you belongings or seek passion. What I am saying is we need to level up mindfully. Doing so requires an inversion of the mindset we’ve been discussing. In other words, instead of acting from a place of longing, we should take a bath in gratitude. We should take stock of all we have, especially the inalienable basics. Inalienable basics like the ones in the Michael Donovan quote above. After you’ve done that exercise, then ask yourself what you lack.