We live in extraordinary times. We try to live a simple life. Living a simple life is actually a lot harder than you may think when the whole system is conspiring against it. It’s a life less ordinary for sure.

Okay, so I first borrowed the title from the 1997 Danny Boyle film starring Ewan McGregor and Cameron Diaz as the tag line for the Thinglish Lifestyle blog.

The film, often forgotten but worth revisiting, has a certain charm to it but it is the title that I always found intriguing. “a life less ordinary”. Less ordinary than what?

I like the ambiguity of the title. Everyone’s circumstances are different. We measure and compare our ordinary lives to other people around us and to those online to the detriment of our own happiness and fulfilment.

For everyone on Instagram (yep, we are on the gram too) who appear to be living a super, amazing, happy, perfect life, there are hundreds who compare their lives to their IG feed and feel lonely, inadequate and sad.

Why do we feel the need to consciously and unconsciously measure our own health, wealth and happiness against other people we have never even met? After all, no-one posts the shitty things in their life on social media. Everything is framed, filtered and formatted to showcase their best side.

Just as a business wouldn’t publish negative reviews on their website, we all do the same on social media too to show how attractive, wealthy and popular we are, even if we don’t really believe it ourselves. We’re waiting for those likes and comments to validate our ordinary lives to get a little dopamine hit.

After living on this planet for over half a century I’ve got to the stage in life where I have enough history to look back on and reflect. I can now find comfort in the simple pleasures of watching the sun birds feeding on the nectar of flowers outside my office window, walking the dog or listening to the sounds of the trees swaying in the breeze in our permaculture food forest.

As a younger man it was all about hedonism, slash, burn, rawk ‘n’ rawl, straight no chaser and next to no introspection. In retrospect, those moments of introspection fed the hedonism, it wasn’t a place I was comfortable in.

Once I decided to leave my London life behind and move to Asia, I sold or gave everything I owned away. It was then I realized the things I thought I owned, actually owned me. This realization was a cathartic experience, like a weight being lifted from my shoulders.

I’m far from a minimalist, I still acquire far too much shit, but I have no emotional attachment to it now. I invest now in the future rather than squander resources on shit I don’t need to impress people I don’t like.

Where once I was a wild boy, now I’m a mild boy. Living a simple life in rural Thailand. A life less ordinary.

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A Life Less Ordinary

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