My Life In Boxes – The Paradox of Living Outside the Box

Think outside the box – get out of there – they said.

That I did. I believed them. I took on the challenge, a challenge that was far from easy. I struggled, I fell countless of times and got back up each time, I had moments when I was angry, moments when I was alone and moments when I cried. Because that change hurt. Sometimes I had fun, other times I felt like I was going mad.

One day though, I succeeded. I got outside the box. I was happy and joyful and everything was so bright and colorful. It was a dream come true, a huge goal that I had accomplished, getting outside the box. I had changed a lot while climbing the hypothetical walls of that box in my mind, jumping over and landing on the other side. The side where the grass was greener.

But after awhile, things went back to normal, the enthusiasm of that initial period quieted down and I soon came to the harsh realization that I was still inside a box. A different one, but a box nonetheless. A bigger one, with more abstract walls, a whole different bunch of problems waiting for solutions and other kinds of limitations. I had gotten out the first box and into another one, which included me, others like me and the smaller box I had come out of.

And then I realized that the grass wasn’t greener on this other side.

outside the box

So with my new acquired mindset of thinking and getting outside the box I set off again, took on a bigger challenge, climbed another higher wall and landed on the other side again. And that only to find myself in another box.

With more or less the same grass.

Then it hit me. There is no outside the box. There are so many different boxes and one might be spending his entire life climbing out of one and into the next, always in search of that greener grass on the other side.

And after all, I don’t know anymore if living inside a box is something inherently bad. Our brains work like that, they think in patterns – or boxes if you wish – because it’s a lot easier to divide this big crazy and hard to understand world of ours in a more manageable way, thus they fit it right into those very boxes that some of us are trying to get out of.

So while I’ve struggled and succeeded to get out of several boxes, I’ve spent my time and energy in vain for doing that. Climbing out of boxes, only to end up in others. What’s the point of it anyway?

If there’s nothing awfully wrong with you as a human being, there’s no enjoyment in that.

After years and years of struggles to build myself a life outside the box, right now I’m in search for a box to fit me and someone to share that box with. This might just be the secret to a fulfilled life. Finding your favorite box, sharing it with like minded folks and enjoying your time there, plus some occasional trips to other boxes around for an exchange of ideas. You might still need to do some exploration and wall jumping to get there because you never know what’s on the other side until you try and see with your own two eyes, right?

And that’s where the paradox comes in. That’s how you end up jumping from box to box, thinking that the next might be the one you need, the one with that promised greener grass.

For some people, the best might be the first, smaller box. That’s an easy one to live in. But the more you know, the more you find out, the larger and more diverse your box will need to be. Or so it seems. And then the search for that perfect box with the perfect green grass goes on.

And on.

And on…

That’s how things went for me for a long while until living my life in boxes became… alright.

Cover Photo by Raphael Koh on Unsplash

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