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  • Writer's pictureLeon de Leeuw

In your life, what do you do just for yourself?

Who's to say what you should do with your free time? Nobody. Just live it for yourself, not someone else. One distinction to make - is whether you spend your free time on what you really want or does it serve the purpose to impress others (acquainted or not)? Are the trips you make to enjoy yourself or to fill up your social media feed? Do you go because you feel you have to or is it really your initiative? It doesn't hurt to ask these questions. Perhaps, you'll find you do many things just because you expect you should or because you see others doing the same. If you tread in other people's footsteps, stop and think "Is it me wanting this, or is it society telling me to?"

And what is it you would actually do if you had nobody else to take into account? Let's say you were a millionaire. After working hard or winning the lottery, it doesn't matter in this train of thought. What is it you're going to do? You might imagine yourself flying to an exotic destination, lying down comfortably at the beach and ordering your first cocktail. You really deserved this. You take your first sips, then regret that because you forgot you need the drink on Instagram. Now that you had some sips it doesn't look as wholesome but you still post it. Some filters will do the rest. You order a second cocktail because hey, you deserved this.

Now you're slowly getting sunburnt and the sand blows in your face. You take a selfie with your smartpone and indeed, kind of red on the cheeks. You put your phone back down and now it shuts off because it's been in the sun too long, overheated. Seems phones don't handle that well. You get back to your room and find yourself annoyed by the fact that you can't check your social media feed until your phone's cooled off. Everyone back home will know you're really enjoying yourself half across the world. You sit down on the bed. The room is neither hot nor cold. You shake off the sand from your towel. You're a bit tense. Then you walk out onto the balcony, look at the sunset and it kind of stings your eyes. And then you wonder, why am I even doing this?

You enjoy the buzz the cocktails gave you but it wears off quickly. You kind of miss your buds back home, they must be having some after-work drinks. And you slowly start to realize you really don't know what to do with the money and free time that bought you. Will you write a book? "Sure, but about what? How I won the lottery? Or no, I'll start a business, improve the world! But again, what?"

The point of this post is not to make you feel worthless. The contrary. It's to make you think before you stand on that balcony, no matter if it's halfway across the world or in your own cheap rental. You'll want to know what do with life. And know what to do just for you. If you strip your life down to the bare bones - without external money, without validation, having to impress others, without status, with or without money - what would you do? And forget about going or being somewhere. That enjoyment only lasts so long. What is it you're going to do on a day-to-day basis? You'll probably be hard pressed to give an answer without deep thinking. And it's tough for me to come up with an answer just as much.

By the way, if you're on that hotel balcony, get to some place where travelers gather and have fun. Don't be too hard on yourself either. The thinking must be done but not necessarily tonight.

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