Image by Matilda Hellgren
Equally liberating and terrifying: just about everything is made up. You’ve probably already read someone else’s take on this topic, or found the thought flitter through your own mind (as all good thoughts do) as you wash the dishes or sit on the throne, but on the day-by-day, we tend to get caught up in this illusion.
Our daily routines rest on made up structures. We have three meals a day (because somebody one-day thought that sounded like a pretty good idea), and these meals should happen at specific times of the day, and maybe you pay money for this meals, and you have to work at some company to get the money, and you have to obey road rules as you drive to work, and you have to make sure you vote so you have a say in your government, and on and on.
Image by Ulla de Pellegrini
Sometimes I find this idea inspiring. Our lives are based on IDEAS that people literally MADE UP. Someone thought up some idea (time/currency/sustenance/law/government) and other people agreed that it seemed like a pretty good idea, so everyone collectively agreed to participate in this idea, making it “real”.
As someone who spends their days coming up with ideas for stories, and conjuring up conversations with imaginary people, a part of me loves that a single idea can create a major impact.
Image by Sireesht
Then there’s the terrifying side.
Basically your entire existence, your anxieties, your obligations, are birthed from shit that isn’t actually real! Now, I realise that if you don’t eat breakfast, watch the time, go to work, earn money, obey road rules, vote, or pay attention to what the government is doing, then there are some very real consequences. Some may be mundane, like starving at 11am (if you dare wear a watch!) while others may lead to hefty fines (paying thought up currency to a made up authority).
It’s a tangled, ironic, little illusion we bop around in.
I think it helps though, to remind ourselves that THIS IS ALL JUST MADE UP. If nothing else, it may simply shave the edge off your anxiety when you realise it’s 8:50 am and you said you’d meet your mate for a coffee at 9 am. You may smile, as though hearing some inside joke, as you scrape that ten dollar note from your purse to pay for said coffee (or laugh when you paypass your credit card and see the digits on your online bank account change!)
It melts away the ‘seriousness’ of life. Helps loosen up the ridged robot ‘responsibilities’ of adulthood.
Though, I do recommend that you continue to go to work. And pay your bills.