Why are we so afraid to stop?
We listen to the relentless pressure of life that comes at us in wave after wave, telling us to be fitter, smarter, richer, happier, or thinner. To aim for promotion, our destiny, bigger car and house, fancier holidays, nicer clothes or watches.
On social media we edit our lives to look good, we post aspirational quotes and believe that those posting them are doing it better than we are. We buy into the lie that these people have it all together and have arrived (wherever we perceive that to be) that somehow they are on a higher plain and are not troubled by the ills that beset us struggling souls.
In all that has been going on throughout my journey of the last few years I have always tried to be honest with myself and others regarding the details. This has not been easy or palatable at times and I have made selfish mistakes, but through it all there was always a deep hope that it might just help others eventually.
If life has taught me anything it is that nobody has arrived, nobody has it all together and nobody is above the common ills that trouble all men, regardless of what they may say to the contrary.
We all wake up with bad breath and hair, we all to some degree battle with life and routine. Even the wealthy beach dwelling surf bum needs to eat, sleep and poop with monotonous regularity. The billionaire mogul does not escape colds, backaches or cancer, they may pay to make the journey softer even although they cannot ultimately buy life when illness wins.
What is my point?
I have raced the clock, I have watched the clock, I have cursed the clock and finally after a long battle have come to a place where I largely ignore it. I have pursued careers, promotions and money, I have followed my dreams and lived frugally, and in all of it I have sacrificed happiness.
I am not saying that I have not been happy, what I am saying is that the relentless push forward to the next thing removes the enjoyment of this thing. That is the lesson which has taken me so long to learn.
I am grateful that it was not a heart attack that stopped me in my tracks, it was not a life threatening illness (although depression did turn out to be that). From the neck down my body, largely, functioned pretty well, but from the neck up it was all at sea.
I am not the first and won’t be the last person who pushes on in this way until something snaps. We never seem to learn as a race that it simply doesn’t work! Our bodies are not capable of sustaining the pressure long term without crumbling.
So here I sit, having rattled through another pile of work too quickly, if I could go home I would, but I get to stay here and enjoy the quietness of this spot. I am learning slowly to let go of these uncontrollable factors in my life. They are unchangeable and so must be allowed to be, for now.
I refuse to turn into a Stoic, and going Zen is not an option for me, my heart belongs to another and His peace is what I seek more than anything in my life just now.
So whatever your day, week or year is looking like, give yourself permission to stop, even if only for a few hours just to see what you have and reasses what you are.