If permission is what you need, then you can have it!
Just now I hopped into the shower and thoroughly enjoyed the overwhelming feeling of too-hot water on my skin. I was having a great time, but then I thought, “Ah man, I have to go fold so much laundry when I get out of the shower. That sucks.” But then I thought:
What’s to stop me from liking the laundry? Why not enjoy the touch of soft fabric in my hands? Why not have fun taking care of my things — making each fold perfect? Hell, why not laugh at myself for being so annoyed by something so insignificant? What would be so wrong with that?
I’m not sure if it’s possible, but it’s worth a shot, because enjoying things is much more fun than not enjoying them, isn’t it?
What keeps you from enjoying things? Is it just that it seems impossible? Well, I get that, because I used to think I was incapable of joy.
I could try to convince you by pointing out that some folks love the things we hate most, or that there is a past version of you that probably relished doing the very thing you’re currently dreading. But you can’t take my word for it, can you? Misery is an idea best debunked through experience.
So why not just give it a shot? Is there something else that stops you?
I wonder if perhaps you don’t think it would be prudent to be at ease. I wonder if perhaps you don’t think you have permission to have a fucking ball. I know I didn’t. I still need to remind myself of that permission daily — sometimes hourly.
We’ve got a lot of conditioning — a lot of deeply-furrowed paths in our brainstuffs — telling us that enjoyment is bad for survival, bad for success, bad for morality.
No pain, no gain. If it’s not hard, then you’re not trying. And if you’re not trying, then you’re lazy, worthless, a drain on society. The American Dream is all about the pursuit of happiness, and you’re not miserable enough today to deserve being happy tomorrow.
But what if this is all a crock of shit? What if there’s literally nothing else worth doing other than to enjoy life? I mean, we know this intellectually. We’ve been told that in many ways for millennia, most saliently recently by all these books and articles about people on their death beds regretting wasting so much time being unhappy.
So again, I ask, why don’t we get it — why don’t we really get it? What’s stopping you from really letting yourself enjoy your life right now? And by that I don’t mean that you should only do what you enjoy (or what you think you enjoy). Because it may be that the only thing you can remember enjoying is watching television, or eating cake, or taking drugs. Which is fine, I mean, those things can definitely be enjoyable. But if that was all you did…actually if that’s what you want to do, go for it.
What I’m saying is, life is— for most of us— about more than hedonistic pursuits, and yet — what if all of life can be enjoyed with the same scrumptious decadence as our guiltiest pleasures?
I’ll just come out and say it: you have permission to enjoy your life.
And not in a YOLO sort of way like, “Drink yourself to death, don’t pay your bills, jump out of a plane without doing your safety checks,” or whatever else causes the greatest temporary release of adrenaline, endorphins, oxytocin, or dopamine.
No, I’m saying, you have permission to let the laundry release happy brain chemicals, too.
You have permission to relish in the emotional waves of a breakup like you did when you were a teenager. You have permission to count the popcorn on your ceiling like you used to at sleepovers. You have permission to actually like doing your job. You have permission to fucking love fucking your partner that you’ve fucked hundreds of times before. You have permission to be floored by the sensory pleasure of taking a shower. You have permission to cry so long about your father’s death that all you have left are bittersweet memories, endorphins from crying, and an undeniable urge to take a nap. You have permission to enjoy how angry you get about having to file your taxes. You have permission to just feel your feet on the ground as you walk.
Everything will get done, I promise. You will survive — yes, even if you enjoy yourself. You will have what you need when you need it. You will work when you need to. You will sleep when you need to. You will die when it’s time.
Again, I can’t ask you to take my word for it. Nor do I want to. After all, it’s your life. You do you.
So, dear friend, what do you want out of this life? Do you want to enjoy it?
Yeah, me too.
Alright then, let’s go! I for one am gonna go fold some laundry. What are you gonna do?