I want a fresh, delicious slice of life AND I want to eat it...
July 3, 2008 10:46 AM   Subscribe

I want to live a life full of abundance, confidence, music, great sex, fresh vegetables, no stress, no 9-5 (in fact no work if I can possibly help it!) lots of rewarding interests and pastimes, a great home and a great social network, how do I get it? I am an average looking, shy white male 31, recently single, live with my parents have no savings and few of the above - I know I am effectively asking 'how to be happy?' but I don't care - I want all the above right here and right now (well I could wait a couple of months I guess)- so if you have any or all of the above in your life when perhaps once you didnt - any tips would be greatly received - Cheers!
posted by aikidoka to Human Relations (22 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: There isn't really anything like an answerable question here. Maybe winnow this down to something not so broad and chatty and try again next week? -- cortex

Fresh vegetables are available at the local farmer's market.
posted by box at 10:56 AM on July 3, 2008 [38 favorites]

I had a buddy in college who dropped out to run a charter boat in a slightly less touristy part of the Bahamas. I guess that could be a pretty easy life, if you could figure out the logistics.
posted by Willie0248 at 10:57 AM on July 3, 2008

You could try reading The Best Year of Your Life and seeing if any of the suggestions strike yer fancy.
posted by jamesonandwater at 10:59 AM on July 3, 2008

Oh, man. That's alot to ask for all at once. Were I you, I'd take the pressure off and focus on one thing and one thing only. What that thing is is up to you to decide, but I'd say you need to start saving a little cash with an eye toward getting out of your parent's house. Maybe set aside a little cash, too, to take a vacation. Nothing too expensive - maybe go fishing a couple of hours away from home over the weekend. Go camping or rock climbing or both. Get out into the open air and really relax and get your body moving. Swim and take long walks. Grill your food. Get air into your lungs.

In the meanwhile, you might look at why this need is so pressing right now. I'd say the "newly single" thing has alot to do with it. I'd also say that it's a good thing you want to start living again, and living to the fullest, but be careful that you don't set the bar too high for the immediate future. It's too easy to get discouraged and get down on yourself if you don't get ultimate happiness all at once immediately. It doesn't work that way. Start setting some goals now and working toward fulfilling them. If you take things one at a time, you might be surprised that, in a few months or years time, you're enjoying an abundance of good things in your life. Take up a new hobby or learn a skill. Read in your spare time rather than zoning out in front of the TV. Join a group or club. Treat yourself to dinner out alone one night - something new, no food you've ever tried before. Take a few risks now and you'll probably start to see the rewards add up relatively soon. Best of luck.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 10:59 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


None of that is going to buy you happiness. It might give you something to feel superior about, but that's about it.

Give all your stuff away, change your name to Sunflower Lovebeam, dance naked down the street. That's my advice.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:00 AM on July 3, 2008

Give yourself goals. Define the specific steps to achieve your goals. Set deadlines for those steps. Accomplish the steps. Reflect on what worked and what didn't. Refine your steps and goals. Repeat.
posted by junesix at 11:00 AM on July 3, 2008

What you want reminds me of Tim Ferriss' book "The Four Hour Workweek" - I've read most of it and it has some great strategies for designing the life of your dream...
posted by JRGould at 11:01 AM on July 3, 2008

Your question is very broad. You do want what we all want (for the most part), but it doesn't come all at once for most people (if anyone). But you do need somewhere to start.

What exactly is holding you back? My first instinct was: well, just go get that stuff. Honestly, fresh vegetables (and a pastime) are at your nearest farmer's market, and you never know who you'll meet. But it sounds like you are hampered by something, and the most glaring thing is your lifestyle - living at home. I agree with ThePinkSuperhero that getting out of the house will at least improve your chances of feeling more confident, having free rein to enjoy your interests and pastimes, and increasing your chances of great sex.

Beyond that, the rest is up to you. Don't wait to be confident before you do things. Confidence is built only through doing things - enjoying them, seeing that you do fine at them, doing better at them. No one can learn to be confident by staying at home, never testing themselves with others or at work. Just begin getting involved in life. What interests or pastimes do you see yourself pursuing, outside of work? Are you the outdoorsy type? Google around for local hiking clubs, pickup ultimate or volleyball, or beach cleanups. More bookish/nerdy? Look for book groups or gaming nights at nearby businesses. Not sure what you want to do? Just try a bunch of different things - dance, listening to live music, going to talks, visiting parks, visiting museums, volunteering.

So, in short: 1. Take care of yourself (rather than leaning on others to do it for you) and 2. Do more of what you love. If you keep doing both of those things, you'll be confident, more independent, develop interests, and get to know people.
posted by Miko at 11:02 AM on July 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

So much snark.

Anyway, maybe you could save up some cash and go wwoofing? That would take care of the fresh veggies, 9-5 (though you'd probably be working more like 6-2, depending on the farm), and the interesting pastimes.
posted by lunasol at 11:05 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

I want to live a life full of abundance, confidence, music, great sex, fresh vegetables, no stress, no 9-5 (in fact no work if I can possibly help it!) lots of rewarding interests and pastimes, a great home and a great social network, how do I get it?

ask.metafilter archives are a good starting place - we've answered most of these questions before. For the no job thing, good luck - everybody is trying to figure that one out.
posted by Drama Penguin at 11:06 AM on July 3, 2008

Do you want those things, or do you want to be happy? They are not the same.

People are notoriously bad at predicting what will make them happy. It sounds like you've put together a list of things that you think will make you happy, and you could be right, but you could also be wrong. And measuring your life against an arbitrary list of goals and possessions is a good way to make what success you do have feel like failure. You will never achieve perfection in any one aspect of your life (health, love, work, etc.), much less all of them simultaneously.

It's hard to know what you are really asking. Are you being tongue-in-cheek, just looking for general tips? Or are you expressing despair with a thin veneer of playfulness?

If you really are asking what you need to do in order to be happy, then you're asking a question we cannot answer without knowing everything about you. Have you ever been happy before? If so, what was different then? How many different kinds of jobs have you held, and how did you feel about them? How many close friends do you have, and how would you characterize those relationships? Your question gives the impression that you feel like you've failed in many respects. What did you try, and why do you think your attempts were unsuccessful?

I think it might help, for a start, if you set yourself one realistic goal based on evidence of something in the past that definitely contributed to your happiness (such as living in your own apartment).
posted by prefpara at 11:06 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

You're not asking to be happy; you're asking to get things.

Until you realize that, you are unlikely to get more than a few items from your list - and I doubt you'll be happy, either.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:07 AM on July 3, 2008

The way to avoid having a 9 to 5 is to make your job your play. Creative pursuits are fulfilling. Accompanying the idea of being creative as a job are images of a struggling artist or musician who can't get gigs, but there are many creative jobs that are available to those willing to learn the craft involved. The bicycle mechanic is a good example of this. The luthier is another. Also fulfilling are those jobs that consist of directly helping your fellow human beings. People find their passions in fields that are not these, but your one paragraph seems to hint that you are not of their number.

Note that the chances of either paying very well is very low, but you'll find that living simply eliminates a lot of the stress sources that people frequently fall victim to. Some stresses are introduced; medical costs are among those. It's not a path without trade-offs, but it's one that people of a certain disposition will find suits them much better than the options people are more commonly presented with.
posted by invitapriore at 11:11 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

I got pretty much that working for a dashing farm manager on a commune/"intentional community" one year. I had to go back to the real world to finish my degree, but I still think about going back. It cost almost nothing to live there and the work I did, while strenuous, was certainly worth it in terms of the physique I earned and the fresh vegetables I grew. It was too hot to work in the afternoons, so we would read instead. In the winter, the people there do other work though. Some did construction, worked at ski lodges, etc. but they had tons of leisure time overall. I lived at way below poverty level (no one there even makes enough to pay taxes), but ate amazing fresh food and went to awesome concerts and conferences. The woods provided all kings of great things like venison and fresh maple syrup.

That said: it's hard to find a good intentional community, many members are older holdouts from the golden age of communes AKA not many young people, you might have to adjust to things you don't like such as having to chop wood and build a fire to take a shower, and if you breakup with someone you might have to leave.
posted by idle at 11:11 AM on July 3, 2008

Come on man you're 31. By now you should know that the world gives very few free rides. Abundance never comes from little to no work unless you're extremely lucky. Not trying to be a jerk or anything but realistically you either work little and survive on little or you work a lot and have abundance, both are easy to come by if you're committed.

Socially, doing what you love and following your interests almost always leads to like minded people and thus a better social network. I'm also not sure anyone can tell you how to find something rewarding or interesting, those are decisions you've got to make for yourself by experiencing the variety of life.

Good luck.
posted by huxley at 11:11 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

To be fair to the OP, I think it's a kind of tweak on the old 'How can I be happy?' to instead be 'How can I get the many things that people say bring about happiness?'

And I think the best answer is "Address each individually, picking the most important first, by perusing the relevant parts of ask.mefi."
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:13 AM on July 3, 2008

Happiness starts with one decision. What could you do right this second (and in five minutes, and in 2 hours and tomorrow) that would make you happier in a big way or a small way? Now go do that. And then for every decision you make going forward if you focus on doing something that will make you feel happier and will make your life better--small or big--you'll be there in no time.

The more you focus on your happiness, the more ways you'll find to be happy. It's a great way to figure out exactly what will make you happy too. If one of those things on your list (a good place to start by the way) doesn't actually make you happier then you make a different choice and move towards a better goal that will.
posted by Kimberly at 11:14 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

As the Buddha says, you have all you need.
posted by echo target at 11:14 AM on July 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Something that has always made me happy, no matter what else is going on in my life, is this (it's easier if you live in a city):

Walk around and smile and say hello to people. For no reason, not to meet people or anything. Works for me.
posted by Pax at 11:15 AM on July 3, 2008

You need to look at your life an evaluate why you feel the need for this. You say you're 31, but are still living off mom and dad, have accumulated zero savings and don't have a job nor do you want one? I mean, do you plan on courting some rich benefactor to fund a constant worldly excursions? Really think about this - unless you plan on living on a commune or wish to mooch forever, you'll have to get a job. Find something you like to do, nothing dictates that you have to work a nine-to-five. Do you have an eye for design? Are you an excellent writer? Look into jobs in these fields and try to create a sustainable life-style that works on minimal the income gained from minimal work.

Love and sex are free - mingle and find someone you connect with. Ask.MeFi has copious archives with questions that can help you there. Confidence is through comfort in your situation so you'll need to work on personal development and explore where you really want to be. I'm sorry, but never working and having excellent sex with vegetables regularly is not realistic.
posted by cgomez at 11:16 AM on July 3, 2008

What exactly is the problem, then, with your current situation?

There's nothing inherently wrong with living with family, especially if it enables you to evade 9-5 labor and grow backyard vegetables. Further, the utilities and chore-sharing of that sort of communal living can keep free time available in a person's life, time with which they can play music, pursue rewarding pastimes, and enjoy their social network.

Alternatively, you could take up with someone who'll support you as you pursue those things, but that might be tricky if you don't yet have confidence and interesting pastimes.
posted by xo at 11:17 AM on July 3, 2008

I think a problem is that some of your goals are inconsistent with each other. 'Confidence' and 'abundance' are inconsistent with 'no stress' (how else do you build them?). In most places 'no 9-5, or no work' is pretty much inconsistent with 'great sex'. You don't say where you're living, but I would say that for the kind of push you need, you should move to a big urban place and find a simple job and cheap place to live--roommates are better than parents--and jump out into the world and try stuff out. You need to take a jump, and it needs to be a bit scary, and only then will any of that stuff really mean anything to you--you never really know what you want until you decide what it is you will make an effort to obtain. You need to be around other people to learn how they are doing it and to challenge yourself. You can't do it from a position of security.
posted by troybob at 11:17 AM on July 3, 2008

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