Life for Rent

If your life was house, would you own it or would you rent it? At one point or other the majority of us will occupy a space that doesn’t truly belong to us. We rent that space; we pay for its use. During my years away at university, I acclimated myself to dorm life. I occupied a tiny room that I paid the university for. Despite the temporary nature of my stay there, I delved into personalizing that space. I had a collage of pics of all my friends and family that wrapped around my door frame like a multicoloured scarf. I put up posters with Bible verses and motivational sayings. I picked the colour palette of my bed linens (they were Martha Stewart, I’ll have you know). I plastered every available wall space with pictures of Winnie the Pooh (my obsession at the time). The decorative process was painstaking and purposeful. I wanted that room to ooze my very essence. If I was going to spend the next eight months there, I was going to permeate its every nook and cranny, dammit. I even had a door sign signifying who exactly was the sole occupant of door number three on the second floor. Life for Rent (2square) But here’s the thing: while I put my heart and soul into making that space my own, I always knew that my time there would come to an abrupt end and I would be required to vacate that space and move on to something and somewhere else. I knew that in a few short months some other would take over that space and make it theirs. All traces of my time there would be eradicated. There would be no remanant, no evidence, no artifact indicating I had ever even been there. That space had never really been mine. I didn’t own it. I had no real claim on it and, as such, my attachment to it was superficial at best. Your life is your house, your condo, your sprawling 18th century colonial estate. Your life is every room, every piece of furniture, every square inch there within. If you only ever rent it, you will never genuinely take part in its creation, its maintenance or its destruction. You won’t fully commit to its needs. You’ll never change your mailing address to reflect that you live there. Renting removes responsibility from the occupant and places it on someone else. It also implies that someone else, in truth and in fact, owns your life. It is a truly mournful and devastating truth that the majority of us do not actually own the deed to our life house. We have erroneously allowed some silent investor to procure it and thus we only exist in it, but have no real stake in it. We have keys to the front door but no say in when the locks will effectively be changed. Now, rather than spending countless wasted hours pondering whether or not this is the state in which you find yourself now, focus rather on how to transition from tenant to owner. Ownership of anything, big or small, requires careful and intentional planning. One must want that thing so completely that they are willing to deny themselves momentary gratification in lieu of long-term satisfaction. It requires you to seek out solutions instead of bitching about your problems. It means putting on your big girl panties and putting in the work. There are three areas that require full proprietary rights before you can ever profess to ownership of this proverbial life house: your health, your wealth and your relationships. Life for Rent (1) GET WELL: mind, body and soul If I had a dollar for every pathetic excuse ever made about why we cling to the toxins in our lives, I’d be on the cover of Forbes magazine. Shut up already! You are sick, fat and sad because you choose to be. While I am not attempting to negate the influences of genetics, disease and environment, I do attempt to emphasize the existence of CHOICE. Despite the inundation of and total infringement on our lives by social  media, we still have full control of exactly what we choose to do with it. Choice is a beautiful thing. It is what intrinsically separates man and womankind from machines. We have the power to choose. Your life as you have come to know it, is simply a compilation of every decision you have ever made from the day you became aware of choice. You are not a puppet. You define your choices, not the other way around. Stop wrapping yourself in the idiocy of the idea that you have no choice. If you don’t want to be overweight, stop eating shit and exercise. If you want to be smarter, turn your TV off, put your phone on silent, shut your tablet off and go read something. Pick up and relish in a bonafide, warm-blooded, true-to-life classic paperback and enrich your mind. If you truly want to become enlightened plug into the source of life. Immerse yourself in the wisdom of prophets and sages and holy books. Wrap yourself in the truth of Jesus Christ, Buddha and Confucius. Clothe yourself in the intangible fabric of  the philosophies of Descartes, Socrates, Aristotle and Voltaire. Become a connoisseur of all that is beautiful and bizarre and magical. Adorn your life house with awe and wonder.True ownership requires you to create a phospho-lipid bi-layer around your life that is impermeable to anything counterproductive, unsubstantial and irresolute.  Stop eating your feelings. While they may taste good, it is a toxic and futile practice. Identify what you are feeling and why. Then deal with it. Love your body. It is truly your temple. Nourish your soul or it will starve and perish. Own it.   MO MONEY, MO PROBLEMS? The Bible says that money is the root of all evil. Is it? Or is poor stewardship and an unhealthy relationship with it really the culprit? Come to terms with the fact that money is simply a means to an end. It won’t make you truly happy or smarter or more beautiful. On a highly superficial level, it can make the pursuit of those things easier. A truly rich person is one who recognizes that they lack nothing and have everything. Have a purpose for your money. Use it to enhance your life and the life of others. Invest in the immaterial. Give until it hurts and you will receive more than you can even manage. Even Scrooge, after some frightful visits from the netherworld, came to realize that it was not his wealth that made him miserable, but his attitude about it. The Secret teaches a truth that is the key to true liberation from all money trouble: “When you focus on lack and scarcity and what you don’t have, you fuss about it with your family, you discuss it with your friends, you tell your children that you don’t have enough – “We don’t have enough for that, we can’t afford that” – then you’ll never be able to afford it, because you begin to attract more of what you don’t have. If you want abundance, if you want prosperity, then focus on abundance. Focus on prosperity. (Lisa Nichols) This mad dash to get all this stuff makes us poor in pocket and poor in spirit. We start to panic because we think we don’t have enough. Panic is adversely irrational. Panic is impulsive. It makes us overspend, overreact and HOARD. Take a chill pill. You have enough. The universe has made it so. Focus on all that you own and be grateful for it. If money and/or the pursuit of it thereof rule your life,then, quite frankly -you don’t.   WHAT ABOUT YOUR FRIENDS? God has a sense of humor. If He didn’t, He’d have let you hand pick your relatives. Evidently, He did not and so we are stuck with the dysfunctional melange of personalities that we call family. Our families have imprinted on us values that  make up “the voice” in the back of our minds that shape the way we approach life. At some point in your development, according to our good friend Erik Erikson (who named this poor sap), we create our own version of a value system and formulate within it a contingency plan for our lives. A part of that contingency plan is the development of and maintenance of friendships. Our family makes up a huge portion of our personal identity. It is the cornerstone of social media. It is the etiology of the SMS and the tweet. It is the equal and opposing reaction that churned out Instagram and Snapchat. We have created for ourselves a social construct that has both ameliorated and devastated the way we interact with each other. In my summation, it is the area of our life houses that we often neglect; leaving it to the devices of others to control. Our life-mates should enhance and increase the value of our home. Our friends should encourage upgrades and renovations and restructuring. But if you’re caught up in the throws of an acute case of FOMO then you don’t even have time to focus on your life. Get over yourself! No one really cares if you had a McGriddle or a greensmoothie for breakfast. Have we so missed the mark that our most serious sharing comes in the form of a 30 second expose into the mundane moments of our day? Get off of social media and start socializing! There is no substitute for a hug. There’s no app for human contact. There’s no software that can simulate the rapture of a joke between friends. If you feel like you’ve rented out the space in your life where you relationships should be, it’s probably because you have. You’ve traded a full social circle for a full social calendar. You’ve traded intimacy for animosity; friendships for acquaintanceship. Yes, we’ve all been burned and spurned, blah blah BLAH. Learn from it and get over it. Or prepare for emptiness and desolation in the rooms of your life where your relationships should be living. Own your relationships, own your life.  Own your life. Put a down payment on it, close the deal and get the keys. Otherwise, prepare to always have the rules and regulations dictated to you. Prepare to never completely commit to where you are. Defer your mail to someone else’s address. Destroy the place or simply let it fall to disrepair and neglect. Who the hell cares? It’s not your anyways. But if my life is for rent and I don’t learn to buy Well I deserve nothing more than I get Cos nothing I have is truly mine – Dido

by @e_marie83

photo by Yasmin Al-Samarrai

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