Recently we watched Soul on Disney+, which was a fantastic movie. It’s a really deep movie too. For a guy like me, that is searching desperately for something in his life, but is unsure what it is, the movie hits pretty hard. Without spoiling anything, the main plot is about a guy looking for meaning, and purpose in life. It was a gut punch for me, but it also taught me something that I can hopefully remember in 2021: Purpose and legacy are important; but so is just living.
This has been a really big problem for me lately. Its easy to get so focused on the big things, that we forget about the little ones. We’ve all heard the saying “big problems are made up of a bunch of little problems”, but it goes for other things as well. A good year isn’t just a good year, its 365 good days. A good day isn’t just a good day, its 24 good hours. A good hour is 60 good minutes, and so on. I (We) generally get so wrapped up in trying to live a good life, that we forget about the small things, and the small things are key. Thinking smaller scale helps you get over the bad as well; a bad year is more challenging to move on from than a bad hour, or bad minute.
I came up with something a bunch of years ago that I came across again recently. I don’t know if it was all me, or if I had some subconscious help, but it goes like this:
To get the most out of life, you must get the most out of every moment….
To get the most out of every moment, you must STOP trying to get the most out of life.
– Me (Maybe?)
I’ve mentioned before that I am a heavy over thinker. COVID has me, like many other people, spending too much time looking at social media, and though I try to keep things positive online, the outcome is often negative, especially this time of year with New Year Resolutions posts everywhere. It is ridiculous to have these online personalities, who put so much effort into showcasing their “perfect” life styles, suddenly discover imperfections that need correcting when the new year rolls over. Seeing these people talk about their perceived flaws and how they’re going to improve themselves feels like a manipulation. Normally things like this don’t bother me, but the stress of 2020 has me feeling much more fragile than usual.
When we are tired we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.
– Friedrich Nietzsche
With so much time to browse and think, I inevitably start comparing myself to others and (also inevitably) fall short, at least in my own mind. I go online quite a bit for motivation, mostly for working out, but lately I’ve been finding that a lot of that motivation has turned to frustration. I look at people who have reached a level of fitness I aspire to, or doing a move that I hope to be able to do, and instead I get discouraged. I’m not sure what has changed, but I somehow have started feeling like I will never achieve these goals I’ve set for myself.
Perhaps I am looking at the wrong material. Comparing myself to people that have been working out or doing yoga for years just doesn’t have the same appeal that it once did; but finding on social media someone of my age and level seems unlikely, since there is going to be little appeal.
So I’m taking a different approach, or attempting to anyway. I’m going to try to reduce my screen time with social media, and news. I’m also going to try meditation, which I’ve been meaning to try for years. (There is a new program on Netflix, “headspace: Guide to Meditation”. The timing of its release seems like a bit of a sign, so I’m giving it a shot.) I’m also trying “My word for 2021.”
I follow a person on Instagram who recently shared a picture with their “word for 2021”. It was an intriguing idea, and I decided I was going to come up with something. For days I let it mull in my subconscious. Occasionally a word would pop up into my fore-brain and I would add it to a list; literally. Eventually I worked it down to 2 words:
“Become”. I really enjoy the NetFlix show Trollhunters. In one of the early episodes Blinky has a great speech that I love. It ends with “Don’t think… Become.” So “become” has a lot of emotional weight behind it, and was a very appealing choice for me. It also helps with my over thinking: “DON’T THINK!….Become”.
“Action” is less emotional for me, but it is very simple, and direct, and also speaks directly against the over thinker in me. “Become” is great, but how does one “Become”? Through “Action”! I have a long list of things I want to achieve in 2021, and maybe “Become” would have checked things off that list, but I know “Action” will. Already in 2021 I’ve started getting in the habit of saying “action” to myself when I realize I’m getting into a circular thought patterns.
None of these remedies are huge steps; they’re small, easy changes that will hopefully make things a bit easier for me moving forward.
Big Problems are made of many little problems? Only stands to reason that Big Solutions are made of may little ones.