When I threw out all of my belongings and started living in AirBnBs (I don’t own or rent), people say, “Ohh! That must be so freeing!”.

I don’t know.

I know when I see something I want to buy, I feel relief. I have an easy answer: I can’t buy it. It won’t fit into my 15 possessions. Whenever I buy one thing, I throw another thing out.

Is that freeing or imprisoning? I don’t know

Someone asked me, “Do you miss anything?”

Yes, every day. All the time. I had a drawing next to my desk of the superhero character from the 60s, Underdog. I loved it.

I had a Dr. McCoy doll from Star Trek. I had a photo album of photos from when I was a little kid. It had photos of me, my sisters, my parents. I had a collection of comic books built up over decades.

I miss them. I miss many things that I have lost in my life.

It feels like practice.

I practice “missing”.

Happiness is Reality divided by Expectations.

The less I expect, the happier I am.

When I wake up in the morning, I look out the window. I see a 3-dimensional city of vertical buildings reaching into the clouds. I see the sunlight. I feel like I want to sleep more but I know I have to get up because I want to write.

I’m going to write. I’m going to do some business. I’m going to disappoint some people. I’m going to make other people happy.

Then I’m going to play ping pong. I’m going to prepare for some work I have to do tomorrow. And I’m going to play backgammon.

I miss many things every day. This is freedom.

To live a life filled with things that I miss. To give myself permission to be both happy and sad at the same time. Melancholy is freedom.

Happiness all the time is prison.@jaltucher (Click to Tweet!)

I used to lock myself in that prison. Surrounded first by my possessions. Then surrounded by my goals. And the opinions people had of me. And my anxieties about tomorrow, which always drained me of energy for today.

I wrapped myself in so many expectations they kept me in prison.

Today I’m going to play. I’m going to miss. I’m going to laugh. I’m going to forget things. I have permission.

I’m free.


James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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