I know, almost a month late! I did write out various forms of this post nearer the start of the month, but nothing really stuck. And so I left it to one side, and got on with just trying to be as happy as I could. And wonder of wonders, it seems to have worked so far!
I started March in a state of semi-exhaustion, recovering from a cold and generally a bit bleh. What could I choose, I thought, from all of these ‘happiness goals’ that doesn’t require too much energy? Clearly, my January and February choices can’t have worked out so well…!
Alongside that was the lining up of the new month and the start of Lent. I have someone complex thoughts on such things, but let’s just go with: it’s a handy period of time to pick a goal to stick to. And in the true tradition of ‘giving something up’, I picked computer games – those time- and life-sucking banalities that leave me with a faint taste of self-loathing when I get caught up. Again. And yup, that’s worked out as well as you might expect any addict trying to cold-turkey…
And yet I’m generally more content now that I have been yet this year – is there hope of taking this further? Okay, I don’t mean to go for wild suspense, but my secret weapon has only been the quiet sense of mindfulness. All of those meditation plans that rarely work for long were replaced with just trying for a few breaths occasionally, of nudging myself to be completely aware of *this moment* whenever I could remember to.
Ah, it sounds trite from the other side, I’m sure, and yet it’s amazing how much it works. I have so much I want to do (and yet rarely really do, do!) that most of the time my head is full of future plans, or recriminations for the past. Taking the briefest of seconds to blink and see *this* is the real bit is shockingly powerful.
So, I enter the last week of the month with not too much more scored off that infinite (and infinitely growing!) to-do list, but with a renewed sense that it doesn’t always matter as much as I think. If it pleases me to spend my weekend reading and watching movies – hey, that’s valid! In fact, it’s kind of nice (and me being me, the absolutely necessary chores get done anyway, but with less of a sense of stress about ’em). Allowing myself to do what I feel – and I know what that is, ‘cos I’ve taken a moment to breath – is way better than ignoring a pile of ‘shoulds’ and burying my head in the distraction of sudoku (!) and click-click-click games.
Take those seconds. Remind yourself what’s actually real, what’s important, and what’s just the fluff generated by the whirl of the life you think you should be living. Do what you want, when you can, but do it knowing that it’s been fully chosen for this moment.