Life can be so monotonous sometimes! If we don’t watch it, a whole year goes by and we are exactly where we were 12 months before this, just a little bit older and a little more worn out.
The daily mundane tasks and self-imposed obligations eat up our day, week in week out, and sometimes we forget to live a bit. What holds us back? Is it because we are creatures of habit? Is it because we are afraid? Afraid of what? Afraid of freedom?
Afraid of freedom! Absurd you say! But think about it. We are all slaves to some god. And when I say god I don’t mean a divine being. I mean that thing that holds power over us and dictates our life. Most, if not all, are slaves to money. Many are slaves to beauty. To music, and food and cars and sex and fame and … the list is long and in so many ways too familiar.
So what am I trying to say here? The thing is, we, I, can get so caught up in searching for that god, for that ultimate prize, that I completely lose touch of this incredible thing called life.
Everyday I know that the sun will rise and that I’ll take 1 teaspoon of sugar with my tea and I know what god I’m chasing and the tried and tested methods of how to get there, and I stick to these methods and break my back and drive myself crazy trying to make everyone happy and compromise my values and raise my blood pressure and lose sleep and think crazy thoughts that make Ally McBeal look like a G rated movie!
And when I do stop, and breathe, and listen, and feel, I wonder “There’s got to be more to life than this!” I’m going to get up and do the exact same thing that I did yesterday, last week, last month, last 3 years! And when I get to this point I do something so random that it brings back that elusive ‘zing’. Not something big and outlandish. Just something new, something different, something not part of the daily program.
I’d bake a cake. A super sickly rich chocolate cake. That doesn’t sound like much and would probably sound drop dead boring for many, but for me it’s new. I’m not much of a kitchen person, but trying something new, like baking chocolate cake gets me out of my rut. But there’s one thing to overcome every time I decide to try something new. Fear. Fear of failure. Honestly who in their right mind would be afraid of baking! Well…me! What if the cake doesn’t rise, or turns out bitter or tastes like mud? What if my family hate it?
Fear fear fear! Self doubt! The big unknown! Treacherous thoughts!
But I persist despite myself, blast some music to drown out the enemy in my head, and dig out that old cake mixing dinosaur of a machine and long unseen baking trays, troll through some old recipes and get down to it.
For a short time I’m focused, in the present, not rushing through my head. For a moment I’m at peace with the world and with myself. The poof of flour as it slides into the bowl, the skip of a heartbeat when the egg is cracked without the shells falling in, the sweet smell of cocoa, the calming continuous whiz of the old dinosaur. And that divine smell when baking in the oven. Heavenly! The satisfaction of a job well done when all but the crumbs are left on the tray from happy tummies.
And when I’m on the other side, after coming out of that little frightening new journey, I wonder, “Why did it take me so long to do this?” Then I start thinking of all those small new things that I have never tried because I simply was just too afraid of trying something new!
All I want to say here is life is too damned short to be living like a programmed robot. We are not robots, we are humans! That has to count for something right! I’m tired of feeling like I’m here but I’m not really here. Of waiting for life to start!
I’m learning to appreciate the small things in life. Because it’s these small things that make me happy. When I can’t think of something new to try that won’t cost an arm and a leg, I turn to my 2-year-old nephew and marvel with him. At all his new discoveries. At the gecko on the wall, the big toad on the lawn, all the nice bubbles when he empties my new bottle of hair conditioner in the sink!
The one thing that I know about myself and amazingly only just realised this recently, is that I feel truly present and alive when I go out of my way to learn something new. This is when I pull at whatever courage I have buried deep in my being to get past myself and my negative thoughts and to just live a little.
And in these moments when I do get the courage to try something new, for a moment, just a brief moment I’m happy. At the end of the day, happiness is that god we all search for, and sometimes if we allow ourselves, for a fleeting moment, we meet that god, and we embrace, and we let go, for that chance to meet again.