key turns lock

Over the last few months, I felt kind of reductive – in that I have been paring back what I own and what I do.

In physical form – it has been decluttering, sorting, tidying and tying up loose ends, withdrawing from seeing people who don’t nourish me; giving up various volunteer work things.

In mental form – it has been ceasing doing things I no longer want to do, saying no more, doing less generally and trying to rest more.

Now, I feel like I’ve hit the zenith of that paring back and am feeling at a sort of bare, barren place – I can sense change ahead, but I’m not sure of its form. There is only so much reducing I can do before I go off and become a nun, or something. It’s time to put some things back in the basket.

This is me trying to work out what all this means…

I am liking less and less:

-social media; volunteer work;  spending time listening to people who aren’t capable of returning the gift of listening and don’t really care about me; socialising for the sake of socialising; crappy over-packaged, processed food; passive aggressive nonsense from anyone; the writing scene and what it can do to people’s heads; the ‘more is more’ approach to life; exhausting type-A people who can’t be still; only having two days a week to do as I wish.

I am liking more and more:

-silence; quiet family weekends; reading a good book instead of a facebook; devoted discipline; yoga yoga yoga yoga; friends who can a) listen deeply and b) give good useful advice; honest direct dialogue; the genuine; space – in my day, in my mind; simple vegetarian food; the notion of self-employment; relaxed, honest people who know how to rest and how to care for themselves; integrity.

I spent a lot of time in my twenties and thirties trying to be good, trying to be nice, trying to be helpful, trying to ‘build community’; trying to be all things to lots of people, trying to achieve certain things, only to achieve them and discover that – wherever you go, there you are – they mean very little.

I think my forties is going to be about being real.

I also think ‘real’ and ‘nice’ are not necessarily compatible.

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7 thoughts on “key turns lock

  1. Yes, I feel this way often. It seems to me that the clear out has made a good space for you to welcome new things into your life. I have a love hate thing with social media. I think the key thing for me is learning to use it wisely, rather than obsessively. (which is hard for an obsessive type person! lol)

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  2. I’m feeling a bit lost at the moment, so this post feels incredibly timely. Will return to it often and re-read the list of ‘liking more and more’ when I lose my way.

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  3. I love this post! I love the two lists and think it could be a good meme or at least something I’ll copy for my own blog. When I was at art school I wrote a list of everything I loved – that was enlightening. I just streamed it all down in one go so there’s everything from specific friends to lemons. Also today I’m wearing Melissa’s Bright Star necklace, which is a key on a string … spooky.

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  4. This is a lovely post Helen. Hooray to new stages in your life, and to stripping back to things you actually want or need or which are good for you. Although some things on my lists would be different, many would be the same, and the whole post really resonated with me. I also feel I’m at a stage where I’m finding what I actually want rather than what I thought I wanted or what other people would assume I want. Though for me one of my conflicts is that some of the things I want (hanging out quietly at home, probably on the couch, etc) seem incompatible with other things I want (intensity, spontaneity and meaningful experiences, etc) but I’m realising that the two things are perfectly able to fit in the same life, maybe just not always at the same exact moment.

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  5. Yes! ‘Things I thought I wanted’ – I think that’s the toughest part of it all for me – what I thought I wanted all this time versus what I actually want now…there is some pain in letting go of some of that stuff. x

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