As I was scrolling through the online comments below a newspaper article recently, I saw one particular comment that made me stop and think. So I noted it down, and here we are. I can’t remember the subject of the article, but the comment read something a little like this:
“All this public soul-searching and self reflection is too much, we’re driving ourselves insane by overthinking everything”
I feel like that today. Unusually, it’s a grey, rainy day here in Sydney, and it’s a Monday, and I drank a little too much wine with my sister last night. The cobwebs have cleared, but my mind is foggy. I feel quite glum, which is unusual for me.
For whatever reason, I’m sat here at my desk, unable to concentrate properly on my work, because instead of doing something, I’m thinking about what I’m supposed to be doing. Which is madness, because I have bills to pay, and work to do. And why am I thinking about what I’m supposed to be doing? Because a few months back I had an experience that started a chain of events, that led to this blog.
So what, Chris?
So to you, the person reading this, you invest the 5-10 minutes it takes to read the post. So you read it, absorb some of the bits you find interesting or funny, and then move onto the next thing in your life that grabs your attention.
Meanwhile, little old me over here, sits and types, and thinks, and types, and thinks some more, and so on. The early posts I wrote flowed out of me, like pent-up sexual frustration being released by a good shag. There was obviously stuff on my mind that I needed to get out. The posts I write now require some thinking, and researching, and then I write some stuff. But it doesn’t stop there, because then I stop writing and go away for a bit. Then I come back and question everything I’ve written. It’s the process I guess, but it can feel slightly exhausting at times. Don’t get me wrong, I love the writing, but that questioning yourself part, it’s hard work. And is it worth it?
If we do what the so-called experts in the area of personal growth tell us to do, and go deep inside to find out who we truly are, do we run the risk of questioning our lives and selves too much. To slip, seemingly intentionally, into the world of neurosis? Or insanity?
I don’t know the answer to this, but I shall definitely let you know if I lose my mind. I’ll give you a view on where I think I’m at right now though.
So, the positives – I feel happier, healthier, calmer and somewhat more content than I have done in a long while. I am putting a lot less pressure on myself than I think I have always had the habit to do so in the past. Kind of accepting myself, or some shit like that. I’ve also cut out dairy (again) and feel wonderful for it.
The negatives: I miss cheese. And yoghurt. And I’m also starting to develop a gnawing, unsettling suspicion that all this self-pondering is going to lead to me having to take some action to implement some changes – which is a scary proposition.
In Tony Robbins’ second book – ‘Awaken the Giant Within’, he talks about the importance of taking action. It’s a pretty obvious piece of advice when you think about it. If you want to achieve anything in life, even retrieving a piece of mature cheddar from the fridge, you have to take action. The problem we have, as I see it, is this: Going to the fridge to eat some cheese is a rather easy action to take, the payoff is known, the cost of taking the action is known (unless you’re lactose intolerant and don’t know it). Embarking on a path of self-reflection and mental growth, however, is whole different ball game. It’s not an easy action to take.
I know how to walk to the fridge.
I know how to eat cheese.
I know how I’ll feel after I eat the cheese.
I do not know how to grow as a person in the same way I know how to eat cheese – well not exactly true, but fuck me, where do you start?! What does ‘growth’ actually mean?
I also do not know what the outcome could be, 6 months, 12 months, 5 years into the future.. Can I be sure it’s a positive one?
I also don’t have a clue if it’s an action I should be taking. What if I get to the fridge, and it’s a Danish Blue that I don’t particularly like, which has turned bad, and makes me sick. I don’t want to be eating that piece of cheese when I could have been sat here happily chomping on a nice piece of Red Leicester (there is an underrated cheese if ever I saw one). Fuck, I miss cheese.
Is my old view on life the Red Leicester? Reliable, creamy, mild. A known quantity that goes well on toast with Branston pickle.
I think it might well have been in my twenties. I spent that decade happily chomping on the safe option. However, as I neared closer to thirty I reckon that piece of Red Leicester started to turn a bit mouldy. It carried on getting mouldier and mouldier, until I hit that point a few months ago when I opened up the fridge door (at that cacao ceremony) and saw a piece of aged Stilton. This veiny blue and white cheese with a pungent aroma was obviously very intriguing to my eyes, and nose.
To nicely round off this analogy, I think what has happened is that I’ve started to take little, furtive nibbles on that Stilton. I’m intrigued by it, and I’m starting to suspect that it is a far superior cheese to the big block of Red Leicester still sat in my fridge. If I did throw out the Red Leicester and dived head first into a diet of just Stilton, I reckon I’d have some major problems on my hands, and they wouldn’t simply be digestive.
Maybe what I need to do is trim the mould from the sides, and eat a bit of both.
Hit that 1000 word limit again. Lunchtime is over, I should get back to work.