Are you living or merely breathing?


I get that the High Life defined by the people of today’s generation seems to be luxury goods, unnecessary number of good food and a lot of traveling with even more pictures posted on Facebook and Instagram. That seems to be the Asian mentality and it’s fine with me if you subscribe to it; after all, societies are not engineered to be too individualistic. We actually thrive easier if we are similar.

The thing that is troubling me is perhaps that people are forgetting how to live for themselves.

One of my best friends told me that our priorities are upside down these days. We gush over the amount of likes we have on social media sites as a measurement of popularity which is closely tied to our perceived self-value aka self-esteem. We envy people with beautiful smiles, the ability to spend money as if it’s no concern and buy things that are worth our X months’ salary. To think that the pursuit of happiness is to have all these materials, physical things is the biggest misconception of today’s generation.

A better job, bigger house, more money will only get you so far. True, it is good not to have to worry about money. But rather than making the lack of money a problem, why don’t you think about how you are spending it that is actually the problem? I have always believed that one should spend within your means. And yet.

Humans are not known to be grateful creatures. Our expectations shift all the time. We might be happy with the pay raise in the short run, but few months down the road, the line shifts – and we think ourselves being happier if there’s another pay raise. The same concept applies to everything else. We are not conditioned to be happy with what we currently have.

People are forgetting how to live right. Rather, they are subscribing to the kind of life which is sustainable to some and not meant for all. It’s the kind of herd mentality I have always found hard to accept and spend months ruminating over.

Are you really living the life you want to lead? Or perhaps you are just idealizing the person on Instagram who attempted 80 shots of selfie just to post up one that looks the most perfect, the beautiful picturesque view of the Danube river which is actually murky and stinky – obviously you couldn’t have noticed that, right? Snapshots usually paint an entirely different reality, there’s always much more beneath the surface which makes life so rich in the first place.

Regardless of all that rambling though, What exactly is the kind of life you want to live in?

Photo credits: Tan Yuan Hong (

One thought on “Are you living or merely breathing?

  1. I can agree with you, I mean about what you really want in life. People are always running after money, popularity, power. Getting more likes and etc are just a new way of doing that – demonstrating your online popularity and power. We need to think beyond all this, and beyond money. Being happy & making others happy is much more important than money or power. Because your definition of being rich and powerful would always keep increasing, as you said, humans are not grateful! So what seems big now will seem small later… Thanks for sharing your views!

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