A life examined

“The life which is unexamined is not worth living”
-Socrates

The prompt today asks me to look back to January and see how the year has turned out, was it as I might have predicted. No not at all is the simple answer. Yes, in the broader areas, work, health, the major relationships are all there still.

In so many of the detailed areas though a lot has changed. So what happened.

April saw me embark on an in-depth self-review. This had never been planned. More it was prompted by a throw-away remark from someone I had just met.

Over a period of some weeks I looked at almost everything I doing. It was slightly scary to be honest, asking yourself questions along the lines of currently I do xyz, what would happen if I stopped. What if instead I did something different, without necessarily specifying what the different thing would be.

For example the work I do. What would happen if I changed it, or went part-time; or stopped working altogether. Could I? – what would have to change. It would have been really easy to say, oh, no, I need to work to pay for this or that. So what if we sold the house, moved to a smaller one. Would I still need to work, or full-time, or in such a pressured role.

This lead to a whole raft of questions about why I do what I do. Not in the sense of why did I bother, more along the lines of what is the purpose of the things that I was doing. Things I was doing often without thinking about them. I had become accustomed to doing them or to doing them that way. Like being on auto-pilot, which can be fine, but things may have changed. Was this still the right direction.

Surprisingly this turned out to be great fun. A real challenge, though. I have heard that some people do this every few years, and I can now understand why. It is like cleaning out your room. Often it is enough to just tidy things up; but every now and then it helps to take everything out, give it good clean and then look carefully at each item before putting it back. A spring clean of the mind. So what has changed?

My work has changed direction. I am learning how to write, for pleasure. My attitude to what I am doing is fresher and I am more conscious, more aware, of what I am doing and the reason for me doing it. More mindful, if you wish, less on auto-pilot. Not at all what I had expected back in January.

 

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