I wore my friends Panerai the other day. A ten thousand dollar watch similar to what I used to own. I saw it on his wrist, my eyes instantly drawn to it. A bird to a shiny object. I put it on and instantly felt good. It felt right. I felt complete, as though something was missing and this watch was the final piece of the puzzle.
Funny, I didn’t feel incomplete before that moment. But apparently I was and this watch was the missing piece to my feeling whole. I wore it and it felt good. A giant watch that dwarfs my small wrist, but it melted into my being as if it had always been there. It felt natural and right. I felt protected behind this watch, I had a shield from having to be the real me. It didn’t matter that it was not mine, it just felt right. Here I was, a now complete human. With an identity and a new found confidence.
And then, as I was admiring it on my wrist, lost in its “what it is” did I realize what I was doing. What this was. This watch was an empty calorie substitute for all that I have been working on. It was the physical embodiment of external happiness. It became glaringly obvious to me as it sat on my wrist, not a part of my body, but truly something existing outside my body. Not a part of who I am, but how quickly I made it part of me.
It couldn’t have been a better example of an external circumstance impacting my internal being.
My egoic mind desperately seeks an identity and this watch, as the ones I owned in the past, the cars I drove and the restaurants I frequented, easily and happily provided.
So easy, throw something on and feel complete. Why do all the work internally when something like a watch can fill the void and provide what it is that a part of me seeks? I would like to say I took the watch off in disgust and vowed to work on my internal happiness, a lesson learned. I didn’t. I liked wearing it.
But what I did do, was understand the difference between external and internal happiness. This could not have been a better example. I am not going to beat myself up for enjoying having this watch on my wrist.
Maybe one day I will once again own one. But I will not until I fill the void that is within me by doing the work that is required. I would like to think the difference of owning one in the future will only come when I feel whole from the inside, when I can truly say I am at peace and accept myself as I am.
Going out and making enough to pay for one of these is easy as compared to the work to find my real sense of self and building internal happiness. Filling the glass from the inside. That takes time.
It’s easy to understand why I fell into the materialistic world to create who I was. How long does it take to put on a watch? Two seconds? Two seconds to feeling complete. Hiding behind a thing, rather than opening up what is inside and being vulnerable. Being real.
How long does it take to fill oneself from the inside, to forgive oneself, to love oneself, to know that I am enough as is? I don’t think there is a time that could be applied to that. It is not measured by, ironically, the ticking of seconds on a watch. And maybe that is where it is easy to stop. With nothing tangible to grab onto its easy to quit.
But that is when the real work begins. That is where the fruits of labor come into being. This is where the magic happens. Understanding, wrapping my thoughts around something not tangible as a means of happiness. Taking the time, and being present enough to know, the very act of writing this gives me pleasure and fills more of me than the watch did.
Instant gratification is easy. Empty calories, no substance, leaving me hungry for more the second the novelty wears off and the next rung on the ladder becomes the goal. Living in the gap of not appreciating what I have and wanting what I don’t. Being in two different places, and as such, being torn in two. That is where suffering lives. The gap between the present and the future.
Its a process. I hope I remember I am more than what I wear on my wrist or what I drive. I hope I remember to choose the hard path instead of the easy one.
It will be worth it.