‘Mens sana in corpore sana.’
(sound mind in a strong body)
Ryan Holiday, ‘The Obstacle is the Way.’
It’s October. As much as I love fall, the comfort of candles and the brown and orange leaves falling off the trees, it’s also a time when the light outside vastly disappears and winter gets ready to set in. From my observation quite a lot of my peers are falling under the pressure of the birds declaring their exit, and the rain endlessly pouring down.
I can take all the vitamin D in the world, attempt to drink excessive amounts of tea and dope myself with the endorphins from 80% dark chocolate, but it still doesn’t disown the fact that the weather is getting colder and minds seem to fog up with equal despair. In a sense it seems that everybody around me is looking over their shoulder for a break.
For the past half year I’ve consistently used the meditation app called ‘Headspace’ each day before leaving my house. It’s the first meditational practice that I am actually enjoying and are capable of consistently sticking to. Surely, this practice provides a helping hand, as life gets sucked out of the world and the people alike. Yet, it still doesn’t cut it. At the moment it appears my stress levels are through the roof and every emotion in life are near mediocre. Colors looses their brightness and flavors becomes a bit stale.
That’s winter for you. As depressing as this might sound, I find that this season brings a wonderful contrast to life.
Here is what I encourage you to do: Sit down and write a list of all the things that truly brings gratitude to your life. Everything you do on a regular basis. The relationships that makes it all worth it. The laughter and glimpses of unexpected, delightful joy. Your dog greeting you in the door when you come home. Personal achievements at work, or in school.
Maybe you don’t particularly enjoy going into work on a Monday morning, but does the process and learning experience bring an over-all satisfaction to your existence? If it fundamentally doesn’t, if you can’t write it down as something you are grateful for, then maybe it’s time to reconsider your choices. If your a runner, maybe it’s hard to get out the door, but in the full spectrum, does this practice bring a greater sense of peace and prosperity, or should you maybe take up boxing or playing an instrument in it’s place?
Personally, I don’t always love training legs, however the gym is where my life derives huge amounts of meaning. It’s my flow, so screw the feelings I have in the moment. I know that it is part of the silver lining of my long term goals and happiness. Chemistry class can be frustrating no doubt, but it’s part of the journey I’m on. So at the end of the day, I know it makes sense to show up. Even when I’m not feeling it. It’s hard, but I’m grateful for it.
A bit of hurting hasn’t ever killed me. Emotions can be a difficult to conquer, but they brings attention to the genuine gratitude for the things in life that matter. When I am displeased with my current situation, it forces me to seek out change, reflection and a revisited path to happiness.
Fall is a season that makes me reflect on my why’s. If there are things that are truly unbearable, this is a time when I’ll quit what isn’t truly right for me. If New Years is for renewal, and spring is for cleaning, maybe October should be a month set aside for reflection, gratitude and prioritizing.
Realize, that you only have so much time and energy to go around. Your time is crazy valuable, maybe the most valuable thing you got, so invest it wisely and with ease.
I know I need to, because there simply isn’t enough time nor energy to go around to all the things that are mediocre forces in my life. It’s okay to be picky and it’s okay to say no, when something is standing in your way.
(Rainy) Aarhus, Denmark.
October 9th, 2017