My wife and I moved into a new house 4 months ago. It was an abrupt decision. We weren’t prepared. But we took our chances. And glad, we made it.
For the past 4 months, everything felt messy. I had to balance working (we both work from home) and organizing the house, and assisting my wife in her new garden (yes, she’s a gardener who owns a gazillion cactus and succulents).
My creative projects slowed down for a while and all I’ve been wishing was to finish the transition and get back to my normal routine.
But it wasn’t that easy. And almost every day, I feel like I’m suffering.
I wanted to end it. My wife could sense my frustration.
Most nights, we brainstorm ideas on how to make things smoother (especially for me). I’m a rational optimist, so every day I’m positive I can overcome any challenges, and eventually reach my desired outcome.
Of course that didn’t always happen. Most days were unimaginable. Other urgent matters popped up and both of us had no other choice but deal with them.
Before going to bed, I often turn to my happiness formula. It always works! And I can sleep well. But on the next day, the cycle repeats.
Enough! I had to do something.
What did I do?
- A morning routine (mornings mean work).
- No to all distractions.
- Break overwhelming tasks into small easy-to-do tasks (do them fast without overthinking and not trying to be perfect).
- Happiness formula before going to bed.
But all of this would have failed had I not cultivated:
- Meditation (or being meditative)
These 3 practices — though inconsistently — have helped sustain my inner peace.
Self-reflection allows me to examine my own thoughts and emotions. Meditation or being meditative — like creating something — makes me calm and at peace. And reading life philosophy books allows me to see different perspectives.
My ultimate realization was that I wanted a different situation.
And the more I wanted to reach that “fantasized” situation, the more I became unhappy.
But the truth is, there’s nothing really wrong with my current life situation.
And not just my situation. Also, yours.
Nothing’s really wrong with most of our life situations.
It’s just the mind trying to find flaws. Trying to label something as bad.
It’s just “us” fantasizing about a better situation.
Sure, fantasizing can be helpful in some cases. It propels us to move forward. But just like the other profound truths in life, too much of it can make us miserable.
Imagine today, we want a different situation. Tomorrow, we’ll want a different situation again. The next week, next month, next year… it goes on and on, forever.
And then we die.
“How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour and that one is what we are doing.” — Annie Dillard