What portion of life do you spend thinking about how to go about living as opposed to living.
Though time spent thinking may have been fruitful and a form of self-corrective introspection, it is during this time that you merely existed. You were promenading big city streets and small dim-lit alleys deep in personal thought, indulging in cake without paying much attention to the explosion of flavors because you were too busy thinking of your weight, and communicating non selectively with friends who weren’t really friends, just passersby of your life path.
Being alive is simple yet difficult. In the greater scheme of things, our daily musings and worries are juvenile to the tragic happenings broadcasted on CNN, our depraved selves are clouded with selfishness that we lack consideration. It is almost challenging to consider the greater scheme of things; so painful to admit, and almost always swept under the rug, but the truth of the matter is we are plain vanilla selfish. Lately more and more individuals are micro-managing everything, even down to restaurant orders (“Excuse me, it’s been 15 minutes and she’s already onto her main dish, where’s my entrée?”) Because, you know, 15 minutes matters a whole lot – in that short span of time one could have simultaneously found the cure to cancer and single-handedly struck a million dollar deal…
It is a continuous struggle to keep my thoughts from running around wildly and flowing in ten different directions. Keeping things complicated is almost always the first checkbox I unconsciously tick off any given list. Is thinking part and parcel of living a fulfilling and productive life, or does it inhibit living itself? Apparently the word living has adopted a synonymous meaning to planning. I can’t remember the last time I did something spontaneously. I can’t remember when I’ve decided on anything without mentally questioning whether it was beneficial to my present or future state. Everyone is so accustomed to pro and con tables that now, we just can’t do without.
When do you feel most alive? Many feel alive when they are tethering off the ledge of safety be it that adolescent rush of sneaking out, or quitting your job and relocating to Russia despite the world screaming absurdity at you. Truth is, people feel most alive when they are exhausted physically and drained emotionally, because that is what living creatures were modeled to do: to live passionately…for something greater than just the tangible, short lived material pleasures. If there’s one thing my university years imparted in me it would undeniably be that: I felt most alive when I was conveying sincere gratitude, directing the focus away from my life and elaborate plans and in place of everything, being thankful. Thanking the movers for bearing the multitude of boxes I had to ship home. Thanking the postman for delivering the mail so dutifully. Thanking my flatmate for cleaning the bathroom so immaculately.
Introspection is an essential turning point in one’s journey to developing and maturing. It is never good to ride through life with today’s new-age YOLO worldview… pretty sure not many good things come out of that. Sometimes to keep ourselves grounded we do need pro and con tables, and mindmaps and graphical representations… all these are wise indications of where we are headed. It’s nice to know there’s a pothole ahead so that you can make a detour to avoid it. But too much introspection is a bane. Ofttimes, you lose yourself to it and forget how to stop thinking, and consequently your life is a constant trail of thoughts, dotted with a surplus of judgments and unnecessary comparisons. I am not in any way berating those who enjoy endless journaling with the company of a pot of tea, but sometimes growing gracefully requires a pinch of ignorance, and a generous helping of gratitude.