EVERYTHING IN PERSPECTIVE
My friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and made redundant in the early weeks of lockdown. Suddenly everything was put into perspective. Where as I had been worrying about when I would next be able to go on holiday abroad or have a meal out in my favourite restaurant, her world had been turned upsidedown. Not just in one way but in a cruel twist of fate where her health and her security were both compromised at the same time.
I remember another friend telling me on the phone, she didn’t want it to be a text. I actually laughed out loud. During those first few weeks when we were all living in fear and it couldn’t seem to get any worse, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Then nothing felt as important as knowing that everyone immediately close to me was safe and well. That my husband had a steady job that would sustain us through the crisis.
A NEW WAY OF BEING
As the weeks have unfolded, we’ve become content with eating what’s in the cupboard or fridge after our one weekly shop. Making holidays out of Aperol Spritz and homemade pizza in the back yard on balmy spring evenings. Being grateful not to have to navigate retail parks and feel the pressure of spending days out at the weekend or buying things that we don’t look at again once we’ve got them home.
Finding joy in watching vegetable seeds grow into small plants, even ones that we can’t identify as they came in nameless packets. Spending time catching up with friends, not just making promises to catch up soon but saying “see you next week, same time!”.
Handwriting letters, exercising outside and practicing yoga in the living room, realising that you don’t need a gym membership and what was the appeal anyway?
We have all found ways to reconnect with nature, enjoy the company of friends without having to spend any money. Knowing that we have a wardrobe of clothes that is more than we need as we spend most of the time in the same outfit. Changing our top when we have an online meeting.
Time to reflect, time to go inwards and think about who we are and what we want. What truly makes us happy and how can we prioritise. What are our values, motivations and what are we wanting to take action on, that we were quietly whispering to ourselves before? Suddenly we want to express ourselves, the very essence of us, the spirit of us and everything we stand for.
We may have become frustrated and restless, but this is more about our awakening to a new way of being, a new consciousness. As someone who has done lots of personal development and spiritual work over the last 18 months, I know that this can be a confusing time for people. We may feel as though we are living between two worlds, we sense and feel a change of direction, but don’t know how to navigate it.
We might try and do things the same way we always have, but they just don’t seem to work. We feel then need to resist the change and this only ends up making us feel exhausted and defeated. We are feeling the pressure of not accepting the new world.
CAN WE BE HAPPY WITH WHAT WE’VE GOT?
Can we be satisfied with the simpler world that we have tasted? Having friends over, rather than going out? Being happy with the things that we have, not craving more or the latest. Finding new opportunities where we would never have looked before. Growing our own vegetables, shopping locally and putting back into our community. Supporting local independent businesses and exploring places close to us, that we never even realised were there, instead of ticking off new foreign holiday destinations.
I am missing trips out to country parks and the hills of Derbyshire but I’m waiting until it’s likely to be quieter. I realise I may be waiting sometime. For now I’m happy with a glass of fizz and mini cheddars in the back yard.
Updated July 2022
As I reflect on the last two years my journey to a smaller and simpler life continues and the more it does the more I understand. It is a complete decluttering of the mind, body and soul and the physical space that we inhabit. There is no desire to collect more objects and the simpler my day the better.
I only need to be able to breath, to feel, to express the very essence of myself. Move my body, go outside and be grateful and appreciative of everything that I have right now. I am enough and I have everything that I need.
After another shock announcement of the death of an ex-colleague (the second this year), it once again puts it all in perspective. Decide what you want to be, do, have and believe. Then go live it. It’s all waiting for you.