It was 2016, the year we’ll all remember as a political firestorm.
I was working in a drab corporate office in Denver, and got pulled into the same political angst and unease as the rest of the office.
Every headline was breaking news.
Families and friends were arguing.
An entire nation sizzled with anger, resentment, and disgust.
Politics Won’t Make You Happy
To be clear, this is not a political post. I didn’t vote in the last midterm election for two reasons:
- I was in Albania with no mailing address and the nearest embassy would require an overnight trip on bad roads.
- It was a waste of my time and wouldn’t make me happy.
Some people are born for politics. They thrive in the competitive, winner-take-all environment and feed on the 24/7, doom and gloom news cycle.
I’m not one of those people. Politics don’t make me happy, and I only want things in my life that increase my happiness.
Travel is one of those things.
So in the wake of the election and in a state of total burnout, I bought a flight to Italy, quit my job with the money I’d saved living a minimalist lifestyle, and rented a room in Palermo for three months.
I’d been learning Italian online and it was time to remove the training wheels.
It was the best thing I could have done.
That was 18 months ago.
Since then, I’ve danced until sunrise at an underground gay club in Slovenia, lit candles for Día de los Muertos in Mexico, sailed on a 45′ boat in the Canary Islands, soaked in the famous baths of Budapest, and become friends with Albanian gangsters.
I’ve also published books and built a location-independent income around my blog and writing.
I would never have done any of those things wasting my limited time and energy on the endless, bitter charade of politics.
There Will Always Be Another Outrage
One thing I’ve learned from traveling is that life doesn’t stop.
Like you, I wish we lived in a world with less violence and corruption and more freedom.
But life goes on.
In America we’re taught our country is the best.
Then you leave America and you see that people in other countries are smiling, eating natural food, building a future, and living life despite whatever political, social, or economic challenges they might face.
There will always be another outrage, another controversy, another war so people can make money, and another media outlet warning of complete and total destruction.
The real crime is giving in. Participating in the madness. Letting them play their game on you and all the while they’re asking you to send money.
The sun will rise tomorrow, whether or not there’s a Democrat or a Republican in the White House.
Only You Can Make Yourself Happy
This is nothing new. Existentialism 101.
De-plugging from politics is a powerful way to simplify your life and take back control of your time.
I’m not saying you need to abandon your principles, bury your head in the sand, or give up hope.
But trying to change the world through a vote is like trying to wipe your butt with a Q-Tip.
Instead, go make the life and the world you want.
If you want more money go make it.
Use it to build schools, or whatever your thing is.
Just don’t think even one moment you spend watching the news or fuming with coworkers is going to improve your life.