Fireflies is a recurring series of essays at Dandelion Chandelier written by our youngest contributors. Our Fireflies are sharing how they experience life, and what they love (and don’t). Prepare for sparks and flashes of insight about modern luxuries, large and small.
In this edition, Krystal Chong shares her thoughts on why having a lot of expensive stuff is not necessarily the route to living life luxuriously.
Here’s why YOU are your greatest luxury – and how to turn that way, waaay up.
—- “What good is all the money in the world if it can’t buy you happiness?” ——
SO – The world totally lied to us. “Get a good education, get a good job, make some good money, be successful AND THEN my child – you WILL be happy. “ – It said.
Spoiler alert. It was all a trick.
NOT so ha ha ha! (Rolling my eyes with my $200 eyelash extensions).
You probably either know or are beginning to realize this. I mean – you got all that stuff. You did all the things, checked all the boxes – money, success, recognition – You even one upped it for good-over-achieving-measure – Add in being fabulously stylish, having all the right friends, living the so called ‘dream.’
But after accumulation and accumulation, and yet another accumulation – you start to notice something so strange and shocking that at first you don’t dare speak of it to anyone else ….you’re just feeling emptier and emptier. Woah. I mean, sure you get a high when you get the promotion, or the new purse, or the romantic getaway, but it just doesn’t last, it’s so short lived and somehow … strikingly hollow.
It’s not real.
Then you just need more and more and MORE. Yeezus.
It’s like a sophisticated drug addict, who confuses the high with real happiness. The only reason we stay addicted to this particular drug for so long, is because we don’t realize it’s a drug.
But listen, in the words of my home girl Oprah, this I know for sure – All the luxuries of the world, will NEVER, and I repeat, absolutely, positively, 100 million percent NEVER EVER EVER fill that void you feel inside.
No. Not a helicopter. Not Oprah’s house and personal chef. Not even being BFF’s with Jennifer Lopez (although that will probably be a pretty damn good and long lasting high). It will ALL fade. Pretty quickly too.
F-A-D-E. And you’ll need to shoot up again with some stronger dose of something else. (Trapped much?).
So it gets you thinking, as it did me – Crap! If all this stuff is never going to give me what I’m looking for – why am I wasting my time on it – and what will?!
(Welcome to the end of the designer purse era for me).
Then you’re left with the ‘Oh-crap-what-do-I-do-from-here’ moment?
A visceral realization, that this path you’re on… It is never going to lead to the kind of fulfillment and happiness you crave. You have to find a new path in life (yep – this ain’t no light lipstick and nail design article we got going on here) – but – then comes the hard question – what path is that?
Well that moment can feel daunting. Yep. A cluster f@ck of “What have I done with my life?” kind of thoughts.
But it can also be refreshing – a new adventure, one that will lead to the kind of happiness and magic and fulfillment you have not yet experienced but have craved all your life!
Yes, it exists to be found.
I mean – it’s not like that July 4th Hamptons weekend, or trip to the Cannes Film Festival, or hook up with that super hot soccer player was a TOTAL waste ;). But this new adventure is one in which you are on the precipice of experiencing a magic and a happiness in life that literally is 10 X that other subpar heroin high stuff— and one that you are totally in the driver seat for!
So – Here are five tried and true steps to get you on the right path, in my signature form – bullet pointed action steps in chronological order… because, hellooo Type A. And all that Buddhism stuff is good, great, wonderful – but hello soooo NOT straight forward and ain’t nobody got time for ambiguity!
1. Financial Security – First off, yes, setting up something that allows you to free yourself of financial worry gives more mental space for the other things you gotta do on this journey. BUT, don’t get caught up in thinking you need to be a multi-millionaire or retirement-ready before you can begin – this is just a sophisticated form of avoidance. If even the lowest paid peeps can take a journey like this, and succeed, then so can you, with much less than you think – challenge yourself to find a way not to let this delay you.
2. Physical Health – Sure, not having a life threatening disease and being in good shape are pretty alright. But here, I’m really speaking about taking care of yourself so that you feel good in your body. Life has really evolved to a state of being very unnatural (we’re isolated, we eat a lot of things we were never designed to digest, we have limited activity and exposure to nature etc). All this can really affect your mental state. And ain’t nobody gonna be motivated on the path of happiness when you’re physically and mentally anxious-pants and super-depressed. So take care of yourself so that you’re in the best shape for the journey of self-exploration ahead.
3. Relationships – Look, I know people think when I use the word ‘energy,’ I’m some fairy hippie who’s tripping on Ayahuasca. But mark my words, when I refer to ‘energy from people’ I’m talking about a material phenomenon in physics just as material as gravity. Science will later fill in the details, I’m sure. But for now – just listen – the people you surround yourself with emit energy that has a reaction with yours to either uplift you, motivate you, soothe and support you, OR the opposite – it tears you down. The state of your energy field (insecure and doubtful versus driven and empowered) will entirely determine your success on the journey ahead. So choose wisely. Friends with someone because it’s cool to be? No. Ditch that. Friends with someone because you can be yourself around them, you enjoy their company, you learn from them, they help you become a better version of yourself, make you laugh and help you get through things and vice versus – invest in those friendships – they’ll stand the test of time and help you on your journey. Finding the right partner, or simply NOT being with the wrong partner is 50% of the battle here.
4. Personal Growth – “More, more, more” is a part of human nature. So it’s hard to just let that go, especially if you’re an overachiever as it is. Plus, with so much energy and drive, you gotta channel it somewhere so you don’t blow up. Channel it here! Focus on expanding your mind and yourself, learning and improving – it’s literally the gift that keeps on giving. Just start with any area you’re curious about developing or becoming better in.
5. Life Purpose – Woah Nelly. This is the momma load. “What’s the meaning of life?” “What will make my life fulfilling?” “How do I find true happiness?” Yep – they all lead back to life purpose. And you may have avoided this topic before because yo, it’s hella heavy! But we can avoid no more, because it’s literally the jackpot of ultimate happiness and fulfillment. The previous steps were all leading you here. So often the reason we feel depressed or anxious is because this is our intuition telling us there’s something we’re meant to be doing that we’re not doing – it’s just trying to guide us there. Listen to it, it’s wise as hell. Finding and living a meaningful life will give you the peace and fulfillment and all the answers you seek, and it will bring some bonus magic and miracles into your life along with it!
More information on these topics can be found in my book, What The Hell Am I Supposed To Do With My Life?!
Sooo – easy peazy right?! Well – I’m sure you already know that nothing worth anything ever came easy. But instead of giving yourself more ‘stuff,’ and instead of investing in more things, how about investing in you? It will give you the power to experience life more fully, you’ll have total control over your own happiness. It will give you the ultimate and most authentic fulfilling form of happiness. It will give you peace at the end of your days with a life well and authentically lived. It will give you what you are really looking for. What better luxury in this world is there than that?
Krystal Chong is a self-help author and founder of Anxiety Schmanxiety, a company that provides a comprehensive, organic, and enjoyable solution to anxiety. She helps high-achieving women take back control of their minds and lives and uncover the happiest and most effective versions of themselves. Her unique method is a hybrid of findings in spirituality and neuroscience. Krystal’s 5-star reviewed book, What The Hell Am I Supposed To Do With My Life?!, has inspired thousands to move towards mental wellness and meaningful work. She was formerly the CMO for Honey Bun Ltd and holds a BSc and an MBA from McGill University and ISM. She is frequently featured in the media on topics around wellness and meaningful work.