[Talk] Diversify your life to achieve more happiness

Many people these days are struggling with finding their purpose or struggle to live a mostly happy life. Many people are stressed. I can’t eliminate all this but this article is about diversifying your life to open your mind, to experience new things, to learn new ways to find and to appreciate happiness. At work. In life.

What my life looked like two years ago

  • Computer
  • More Computer
  • Siting at home, doing nothing useful but being lazy and passively consuming things (TV)
  • Occasionally going out with friends, drinking beer or something.
  • Going a few times a year into mountains which always felt amazing but also needed a lot of self-convincement to really go out.

This resulted in a breakdown of the sense of life, self-doubt, sickness, health problems, increased neck/shoulder and back problems, and panic and fear of uncertainty and other random things.

What’s the point of life if it’s just work and watching TV?

I felt that purpose is missing in my life.

Since then, I changed my life a lot. I’m still not entirely sure if it’s all the best things to do but it feels a lot better than before.

What changed

I reflected a lot on what my current life looked like. This wasn’t just fun, in fact this can be emotionally hard.

For me, I realized that I’m not happy with my current life and lifestyle.

I realized that I want to be more outdoors, I’m trapped in the virtual world of Computers and TV and have a love and hate relationship with being lazy watching TV.

I realized that the flat I was living in, in the center of the city, limited me in what I wanted to do. Being outside required me to drive for at least half an hour by car. The life in the city was anonymous and stressful. And, very importantly I realized that all the advantages a city gives I didn’t use much and haven’t even appreciated them.

With my partner I discussed this over weeks, and we decided it’s time to give up our individual flats and move together. We also decided we both want to live a bit more outside of the city. Luckily, we found a lovely place which belongs to the partner of my best friend. It was farer away from the city than we aimed but we loved the village immediately and the flat as well. And living there while having friends around is very helpful. That decision changed everything.

Explore new things

  • Do you know how to use a chainsaw? How to cut a tree? How to saw and crack firewood so we can use it in an oven?
  • Have you driven a tractor ever in your life?
  • Have you visited a forest from an owner’s point of view?
  • Have you renovated a house before?
  • Have you grown your own food?

Me neither. From my father I have learned the basics of woodworking and a couple of more practical things. But this has been over a decade ago and I slowly lost much of this knowledge.

Over the past two years, I learned to do all that. I’m no expert at this but I explored so many different things, types of work and get to know people with very different jobs to mine.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Diversity in Life

Personally, I definitely profited a lot from this diversification in my life. I love knowing more about how humans live, how we need a lot of skills to live on our own and I realised how, alternatively, dependent we are on other people like farmers and other craftspeople.

I learned how to grow food in a sustainable, organic way. This now makes it more difficult to buy normal stuff in supermarkets. I know how bad they’ve been grown and how much of a difference it would make if all food would be grown differently. Not only for our climate but also for the taste of the individual food.

Yes, I just ate homemade, homegrown Sauerkraut two weeks ago for the first time and am amazed how different and much better it is even compared to the one I can buy from a local organic vegetables farmer.

I don’t need to buy the very expensive wood from a store (or cheaper and better from a farmer nearby) but am able to produce this on my own.

So where’s the downside? Time and effort.

All of this takes a lot of time, effort, patience and the willingness to do this stuff. It’s fun the first time you work with a chainsaw but it’s just a hell of a lot of work and your muscles will hurt a lot when you need to cut 5 trees and bring them out of the forest in one day (due to bug plagues, as owner you’re obliged to do this as soon as you know about it).

There are phases where you struggle to find the time for all the various work at home while you still need to get your daily job — sounds amazing that it’s still web development, right? — done.

What’s your recommendation now?

All the struggles I face today, less time for work, less time for leisure time are easily forgotten when I’m in my garden, in the forest, sit in front of my fireplace. In these moments, I’m grateful for what I have, what I can do here, where I live and to those who enable and support me with my lifestyle. In these moments I feel real happiness.

I rarely go into the mountains anymore as I have nice, relaxing places near my home.

But nearly every day I’m reminded that this is only one side of life. I still have a job to earn money, and to be honest it’s a job I still love. I love web development, working with all of you, writing content for the web and so on and so on…

But since I have more things to do besides my Computer, I struggle a bit more with motivation for work that isn’t interesting or fun. This is part of everybody’s job but knowing so many things you could do instead of this work now isn’t helpful to do such stuff.

I’m constantly getting more ideas, more creativity, different ways to think about problems by my new activities. This helps me finding better solutions or understanding the struggles of users a lot better. As my life if happier and I feel more aligned with my purpose of life, my work profits from it as well. Just not in every moment.

Explore things, you don’t have to move outside of the city or follow any of my described paths. This is my path and the only thing I want to recommend you is to allow yourself to find your own path. Take the time for this and then slowly change if necessary. If you’re already happy and comfortable, that’s great. And from time to time, reflect on what you do, on your work, on life and calm your mind. Accept that your life cannot be led by other people’s stories, Instagram photos but is yours. And that is fine.

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