What is an indentured servant?
An indentured servant was someone who agreed to provide unpaid labor, while still being fed, clothed, and housed for a number of years, until the debt was considered to be paid.
Many of us are indentured servants to what we feel we owe to ourselves (what our Next has promised without consulting with our Now) and what we feel we owe to others (what our Others wants even though it often sacrifices our Oneself). We have indentured ourselves to what our Next promised in the past for the future and to what our Others think we owe to others.
We feel no freedom and we're not loving the journey.
And we keep renewing our debts
At least with an indentured servant, there was a specified number of years in which the debt would be paid and the former servant would be free.
But when it comes to the relationship between Next and Now, between Others and Oneself, the "end date" for the servitude keeps being pushed out because new debts are incurred.
Your life as your buffet
Consider this context. Everything and everyone was put here just for you to have fun with, to design, create, and play out your life as your work of art.
Both for now and for your future. Both for yourself and the dance you want to have with others.
Yes, as with any game and games inside of games, there are benefits, costs, risks, and possibilities, both short-term and long-term.
Limitless with some limitations
But it's all here for you. The options and possibilities are almost limitless. As long as you recognize the limitations:
The new chapter that you write, direct, and perform each week is limited to 168 hours, no more and no less.
Each week you are informed by, but not necessarily constrained by, what you performed in the previous chapters of your life.
How have we become indentured servants: our default orientation to life is "results-first"
We might give an afterthought to "enjoying the process."
Fundamentally, our life is about doing and getting.
I am an avid reader of personal growth books. Over 99% of them focus on how to get some result better, how to do it faster, how to pack more into your life, how to be more effective and efficient, how to get that brass ring. More, faster, better. All in service to Next, the you that's going for a better future.
"Results" is the lead horse in our lives, with most of us unaware that any other lead horse might be possible
The "results" horse is a good and necessary horse. But, as the lead horse, it will always leave us unfulfilled.
Robert Frost expressed this so poignantly in his poem:
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
-Robert Frost (American poet, 1874-1963)
Let us instead view our life as a buffet
There will always be more to do than we could ever do. At a buffet we are happy to have all the different food to select from, but we focus on just putting enough on our plate so we can "enjoy the process" and be fulfilled as we dine alone or with others.
Let's learn to do that with life itself. Choose just enough to accomplish or go for so that you can easily enjoy the processes and the journey of your life.
Survival is handled
After you have enough to eat, everything else is a game. Make sure you're playing a game you love, including its downs as well as its ups. If you've put results as primary, you'll only be enjoying the game when you're "winning."
If you notice, "There are too many things to do"...
it's a red flag that you haven't designed and implemented your life as a buffet.