Recently I have been pondering on how to improve my life. I’m not terribly unhappy but I do think my stress levels are high, considering that I don’t have a job and my only child (at home) is very easy-going. I feel as though there are some things I need more of, in order to be happy. Luckily, they are not the kind of things that you need a lot of money to buy.
Anyway, here is my wish list, for you to share and consider.
I want more:
Space – I think one of the best ways to clear your head and start relaxing, is to clear away the clutter from your home. Most people can recover extra space by selecting a few boxes of junk to throw out, give to charity, or sell. Our house isn’t big but, even so, a good clear out and tidy up makes it feel much nicer and more roomy. I need to “Spring clean” and do this. More space, more light, more oxygen, less stress.
Silence – These days we have all become addicted to living with constant noise. The TV chatters away in the background as we eat, read, or try to relax. We listen to music in the car, in supermarkets – we don’t even walk down the street, or sit on the bus, without listening to an MP3 Player. I am going to find more time for silence in my life, or at least as near to silence as I can get. I am going to enjoy peace and quiet, by turning the noise off for a change and just letting my brain unscramble. I’m am going to avoid over-stimulation and find chances for silent relaxation.
Spirituality – The world has never been in more need of clear answers and guidance. We are not short of religions and “alternative” paths to follow but sometimes the sheer number of choices seems to block us from even starting a spiritual journey. The older I get, the more my “existential angst” and confusion about religion grow. I have practiced Buddhism in the past and it makes a great deal of sense to me but my local Buddhist Centre is run by a movement that I consider a cult, so I won’t go there. The Dalai Lama (in his book The Four Noble Truths) suggests that any of the major religions is fine and that sometimes it is better to just follow a religion close to your own culture. (Bless him – I can’t imagine the Pope saying that!). So, I am going to attend Church for a while, I’ve found one that interests me locally and I am going to start meditating (or praying?) more often. I hope it will improve my life, I certainly feel I need it.
Sleep – TV, Xbox, DVDs, the Internet… Nowadays we have many, many enticing things to stay awake for. And we are grown-ups now, so no one can tell us we have to go to bed, right? But sleep is really important and being well-rested is a great feeling. Also, looking tired means looking OLDER and nobody needs that. I have decided to get more sleep. I’m going to go to bed earlier, snuggle up for some cosy reading and then get some hardcore sleeping done. I’m 52 and I get up at 6:30am (to get Brandon off to school) so WHY have I been going to bed at 2am? It has to stop. Sleep is the new staying up.
Simplicity – There are so many gadgets, gizmos and inventions available today that every task has become overly complicated. The idea of simplicity has been lost – but I’m going to reclaim it. Occam didn’t use a battery-operated, waterproof epilator to shave his legs, and nor will I. Some of the most relaxing moments of my life have been during camping trips, when I had practically nothing but a knife, my wits and a cigarette lighter to get me through. There is a lesson there for all of us.
Solitude – The concept of spending time alone is one that often makes people uncomfortable. We tell ourselves that we are indispensable. We feel guilty if we turn off the phone. Sometimes we just plain old don’t like our own company. I’ve avoided solitude for all these reasons and more – but that is going to change. I’ve decided that I need time to be by myself, that I will be happier and more sane if I’m not “on call” 24 hours a day. I want to light candles and soak in the bath, with a great big notice on the door BANNING anyone from talking to me. Of all my ideas this is probably my biggest challenge but I think I’ll do it anyway.
Thanks for reading. I’m off for that bath now.