I was only in primary school when I noticed how everything is relative. It's one of those things we've all known from the start. 'More candies' (relative) always sounds better than '3 candies' (absolute).
More is generally better. (Raise your hand if you'd like to be paid less :)
One way to get more of (or get better at) something is to set goals. And we all have done this. We set goals, and try to achieve them. We might try to get better marks in class, or get better reviews at work, or get better at an instrument, etc.
Now goals aren't inherently bad, but the problem with goals is that things that dont serve the goal can end up being a distraction. Things and even people can appear to get in the way and end up getting de-prioritized. (Not necessarily a bad thing.)
But above all, we might end up not actually living life.
We might end up just existing in the context of those goals.
On Gail's recommendation, I read Ocean Vuong's On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous last weekend. It's a book worth reading. It had this line that I won't easily forget:
All freedom is relative—you know too well—and sometimes it’s no freedom at all, but simply the cage widening far away from you, the bars abstracted with distance but still there, as when they “free” wild animals into nature preserves only to contain them yet again by larger borders. But I took it anyway, that widening. Because sometimes not seeing the bars is enough.
There is SO much truth in it.
Sometimes not seeing the bars is enough.
Sometimes surviving is enough.
BUT we deserve to live, not simply survive.
I woke up later than usual today. It's a Sunday, so it's fine. It was dawn and the Sun was still behind the hills. And I saw a star at the East. I've never seen (or rather noticed) a star twinkling at that hour in the morning.
Turned out to be the 16th brightest star in the night sky: Spica.
Not a bad way to start a day. For me at least!
I'm no astronomer. But studying the night sky helps me see how we fit in a universe so vast. I find joy in it. Same for piano, exercise routines, etc. It's possible to even find joy in cleaning your space, going to bed on time, waking up when the alarm goes off, breathing consciously, etc. In little things. In everyday, ordinary things. In mundane things.
I wish it were possible to enjoy everything about life. But at least we have the choice to choose to enjoy the things we truly appreciate.
(One day, when I'm able to find the right words, I am writing a proper essay on this!)