Every year that I look at my life, I see such substantial improvements. Turning 30 proved to be one of my biggest years of growth to date. But I keep asking myself, does the growth ever stop?
I look at my previous year and see so many hours I wasted. These are hours I’ll never get back in my life as I spent them in activities I thought were nourishing my mind, but in actuality they were deceiving me into thinking I was gaining knowledge from them.
The most common trap I’d fall into is acquiring knowledge from others around the world under this guise. Knowledge seems to continuously be compressed to the point where there’s no ounce of wisdom left from these creators. But the old world still is intact where this knowledge and sense of experiencing wisdom is plentiful
Over the last few years, I’ve been battling an addiction to technology, video games, and the internet from my childhood. I lived a sedentary lifestyle where I would prefer to sit than move. I would often ask myself how many hours I would waste in a given day, week, and month. I’d scroll mindlessly through apps, play video games for hours, and look-up useless information for the sake of not being bored. All of this blinded me from the truth. I was unhealthy. I was stagnant. I was not doing what my body expected me to do.
When I’d ask myself whether I cared about the things I did, I found more profound answers. Of course I cared about what I did, but I noticed that the things I was doing outside of my responsibilities to the world showed me I hardly cared for myself. So I started to take action. Each day was anew. A fresh start to not waste the opportunity standing right in front of me.
I’d try to find the 20% of activities in my life that would lead to the 80% of outcomes. I’d use Pareto’s principle as some natural understanding of whether I was using my time better and sure enough I did. I’d trade my smartphone in my hands for a pair of walking sandals and ideas would freely come flowing to me from the simple movements outside.
I had reinforced this idea after reading Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nitezsche where he believed that the mind, body, and world have to be aligned to experience tears of happiness, singing and staggering, and being taken over by a new gaze that marks our privilege over the men of his time.
Sitting as little as possible, my mind, body, and soul started to communicate with me. They told me that this was the right way to live. That if you want to tap into the infinite well of creativity, that you had to get moving. That any idea worth pursuing had to be born in the open air and of free movement.
My moving body would become an instrument of the mind. That instrument would help me understand love. It would guide me on finding myself. Steering me towards the center when I’d embrace difficulty. I would become myself through my wanderings. The discipline required challenged my previous identity. This new raw and wild nature to an old cooked and tamed one.
I came to the realization that I was not what I could be. Each year that I ignored this intrusive thought, I would suffer. I would constantly ruminate that there is more to life than sitting at home refreshing a device. I would ask myself why do I continue to do the things I do when my mind is telling me otherwise?
All of this pressure inside my head had me feeling like my mind was a cliche dirty garage like you’d see in a movie. There’s stuff laying around everywhere. A tarp covers a car that’s parked in the garage but you don’t realize it’s there because even more stuff is sitting on-top of it. If you didn’t already know where certain things were, good luck in trying to find a simple thing like a hammer.
This prompted more action from me. I had to organize my mind and declutter the garage. The first major thing was to stop anything from entering the garage that would end up sitting. These were ideas, projects, or generally things I knew I needed to do but never would do. I couldn’t take in anything until I had finished reorganizing the garage.
Next, I would take what I did have sitting and create a plan for how to get them out of the garage. The things that were already in progress, the things that needed to get started, the things that needed as little as 5 minutes of action today. Each one of those needed a solid plan and would be written down from this day on until they are gone for good or return as a future opportunity.
As thees started to come to natural conclusions, I finally had room to hang a picture again. That picture would become my vision for the next year. Where did I want to be? Who did I want to become? What did I hope to accomplish? That puppy would hang front and center in the garage for everyone to see.
Now the bigger challenge with the remaining dirty garage is there are things that have been there for a long time and haven’t been touched like the car under a tarp. Why hasn’t the car moved in so long? Was it the engine? Did it need some maintenance done? Could it be pushed out in neutral?
Needless to say, there are always going to be big things in the garage that aren’t easy to move out, but they take work to do so. For me, one of the big challenges in my garage has been my relationships to my family. There’s a balance for me as in my 20s I believed it could’ve been childhood trauma, but now in my 30s I realize that parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world.
I finally found enough perspective to realize that the old car sitting in the garage could be taken out and open up the garage for having better relationships with my family. Would I have found that earlier when I wasn’t a parent? I doubt it. But as our life changes, so does our perspective. As cliche as it sounds, you start to realize that your parents only tried their best at the time and they deserve to be forgiven.
Now that the car is finally gone, you start to feel more free in the world. The burden you carried for majority of your life is gone. You are no longer suffering because of your previous attachment. The garage is even more open and you can move around freely to start to organize everything inside.
You start to take the next year to get clear on how you further organize your mind and you start seeing more things come to their natural conclusions, so there’s even more room in that garage. You can now park two cars inside if you wanted.
Really what I’m trying to say is that sometimes it is hard to understand why we are suffering. We may look in our heads at that dirty garage and see too much work to even fathom beginning. But once we can accept the things that are inside, it helps provide us the reality of whether we want to keep those inside the garage, or to make room for something entirely new. The best way to do that is to get up and get moving.