Do you feel free?

Feb 19, 2015 by

“I live in the jungle. I sleep in a monkey tree. I’m looking from an angle, from the bird of a different breed. I never went to your school. I learned in a monkey tree. So come into the jungle, where the drugs and the drinks are free.”

Monkey Tree, Mother Mother


          The song Monkey Tree by Mother Mother sums up my life philosophy. The lyrics discuss the sense of confinement that characterizes the corporate world, and encourages people to liberate themselves from it. Moreover, it emphasizes that everyone can choose to live freely. In case you didn’t catch the parallel, unemployment is my jungle, and I love my jungle! However, although the song is a metaphor for quitting corporate, your jungle doesn’t have to include unemployment (no matter how highly I recommend experiencing its beauty). Really, your jungle is whatever lifestyle makes you feel fulfilled. At its essence, I interpret the song to be the promotion of alternative lifestyles, lifestyles that are different from the typical: work for 40 (or more) hours per week and take only X amount of allotted vacation days per year until retirement.

          Personally, I think that’s a restrictive way to live, hence why I had no problem leaving my job and flying to Paris. I don’t plan on my life being governed by employers until retirement. I understand that sometimes I need to work. Like everyone else, I need to generate an income. That said, while employed, I don’t let my work impede on the rest of my life. Furthermore, I don’t believe that I need to be continuously employed until retirement age simply because that’s the path that’s been prescribed. I see that path as more of a suggestion amongst other options. Therefore, I don’t intend on pushing through the next 30 plus years only to start living the way I want to at retirement. Instead, I’m also living as I please along the way. What my desired lifestyle, my jungle, looks like at different stages of my life will vary, but the point is that I’m not confined. I live on my own terms.

          My jungle is bound to evolve with my requirements for happiness as my perspectives on things change. I saw that when I came home from Paris early. My jungle went from European adventure to home sweet home in five weeks, and that’s okay. All that matters is that I have no fear of living the lifestyle I want to live at the time I want to live it. I know the mentality that you can live however you want is uncommon. We’ve been raised to think that life is meant to follow some predetermined chronological order, but it doesn’t have to. You choose how you live. You can reside in the corporate world until retirement or you can plan for mini retirements along the way. You can have a comfortable income complete with a pretty, mortgaged home or you can pack up your family to travel the world (there are parents that do it!). You can live in the same country for your entire life or you can move to a place where you can’t even speak the local language. Whatever you choose, make sure your choices situate you in your jungle.

          Your jungle will look different from my jungle. It may be that your jungle really does include – excuse my use of cliché – the house with the white picket fence. Before you assure yourself of that, though, before you tell yourself that the preconceived path you may be following is the one you want to be on, question it. Why is it that you’re living the way you are? Is your lifestyle in congruence with the one you want? What does your jungle look like? Does your life match that vision? If you’re reading this and subconsciously finding reasons to convince yourself that your current lifestyle really is your jungle, you’re in the birdcage. Get out of it. If you’re smiling in genuine admiration of your own life, no subconscious self-convincing required, you’re in your jungle. Proceed to live happily, and adapt only as your wants and perceptions change, without regard for anyone else’s. In essence, live alternative to the norm.

Happiness Tip: Come into the jungle.

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