At the ripe old age of 31 my joints ache and crackle. This afternoon I caught myself taking a slight detour to avoid five wobbly stone steps in the park. I get headaches and I feel tired most days.
This is not what I want my health to be like in my thirties, let alone forties, fifties and onwards.
Over the past few months I have been re-reading many of my favourite books and reading new favourites for the first time. I have been enjoying the summer, watching new chapters of my life open wide, and watching new chapters opening for those I love. I have felt ideas simmering away, ideas that are finally bursting to be let free.
When my wife and I began living together my understanding of minimalism was that it was very nice but something for other people. People who didn’t want many things. I understood it as binary; either you were a natural minimalist, or you weren’t. And I wasn’t.
Being around so much passion, and letting mine free in that environment, made me realise that – instead of letting myself express what is important to me, what makes my heart sing, what makes me feel alive and purposeful – too often I dowse my creative fire with an overpowering slosh of “reality”. Which is really another word for excuses and procrastination. In truth I hide my passion from people in case I fail and am laughed at, or in case someone disagrees with my opinions and thinks worse of me.
As I’ve been thinking about intention over the past few weeks I have begun to recognise a certain impatience in my mood.
I’m eager to start this intentionality practice. I want to appreciate life more. I want to set great goals, to begin to work toward them with firm intention. I want to live in a state of constant gratitude. I want change. I want change now.
In her comment on my last post, the wonderful T.O. Weller mentioned lists as a sign of potential overwhelm. As I read her words a little voice in my brain said, “Oh. Oh dear.”
See, the thing is, I’m up to my eyeballs in lists.
Imagine if everyone on Earth suddenly gained the gift of presence. What if we were able to slow down and step away from hyperactivity and disconnect: listen to what’s going on inside, see the person next to us with empathy, be aware of how our actions impact others and impact the world, and become aware of what is essential for our own wellbeing.
What if we were all able to stop anaesthetising the effects of chaos and overwhelm with more: more busywork, more junk food, more drink, more Netflix binges. To pull our heads out of the sand and see what is happening around us.
We may not be able to snap our fingers and bring presence to the world, but we can choose how to live our own lives.