I used to travel by train
From this station.
Then life changed.
I was made redundant.
And my boss tried to pretend he was sorry;
And I said, “Thank you.”
He seemed to have difficulty believing
That he was doing me a favour;
Making my life easier.
He couldn’t grasp
That he was helping me to fulfil
A long-term ambition,
A personal goal.
So I said, “Thank you.”
And he couldn’t believe it.
And, now, I live the life I’ve planned
For such a long time;
While he has to get up every morning
And commute to a job he’s done all his life,
Even though he no longer enjoys it.
And I travel by train
Past the same station
To a life of fulfillment
That benefits other people
And leaves me with
A sense of accomplishment
And I look at all the people
To their dream jobs.
(So why do they all look miserable?)
And I think to myself,
“It’s the clutter;
“They don’t have time to enjoy life.”
A simple eye.
An attitude of mind.
We lead such busy lives, today. We are surrounded by clutter. We buy too much and spend too much and eat too much and leave too much lying around.
Yes. I admit that I’m as guilty as anyone else. I have to make a conscious effort to clear my desk every night. I have to make a conscious effort to put things away. And I don’t always succeed.
But the biggest clutter comes from other people. How often have you planned some activity, only to answer the telephone and hear the pleading voice confirming that you are the only person in the whole wide world who can help and it’s really, really, desparate, and if you don’t help the caller doesn’t know what he or she will do?
And how many times have you given up your day out to go and help, only to find that it was something that could have been put off till another day?
That’s why we need to schedule personal time every week. We need time for our immediate family – which does not include the children who have left home. And we need time for ourselves, too. We need to protect that time. Don’t let anything trivial get in the way. We have our own needs to take care of. And if we don’t look after ourselves, we will not have the resources to look after anyone else.
This is where we need to learn the power of ‘No’. We need to learn that our time is precious and must be protected. Yes, there will be emergencies. But as one fridge magnet puts it, “Bad planning on your part does not constitute a crisis on my part.”
After all, there will always be other opportunities to look after the grandchildren; opportunities when you can plan fun activities, rather than being stressed about what you cannot do or should do or could be doing.
Disappointments happen; and we need to get used to it. We are going to have bad times as well as good; and the only thing we can really control is the way we respond.
I don’t know the full story, but this boat was obviously left to rot. Yet it could well have been recovered if only its owner had not given up.
When we fall, there is a temptation to think that we are failures. But that is not necessarily true. It has often been said that failure is successfully finding a way that does not work. That’s a good way to look at it. Psychologists call it reframing. It’s a matter of looking at things from a different perspective; changing the way we think about things; viewing failure as an opportunity to learn. It’s a matter of seeing the potential in each situation. As was once said, when you’re at the bottom, the only way is up.
Your local area probably has great locations for photography and meditation. A holiday at home is less expensive and offers an opportunity to find these easily-accessible places.
Some years ago I was discussing the weekly shop with a colleague. He told me that his wife had been to the local superstore, the previous evening, and returned with a car “full” of bags. She had spent most of the week’s grocery budget. On checking the bags, however, it appeared that there was little food included. As he said, it appeared that the cleaning products, toilet rolls, toothpaste, etc., far outweighed the food.
In 1943, Abraham Maslow developed his theory of The Hierarchy of Needs. In it he proposed that the physiological needs fill the most basic necessities – food and water, among other things. Safety, such as you may consider to be satisfied by cleaning products, comes second. That makes sense. We are not likely to be able to clean the house if we fail to eat or drink for too long a period.
All of this highlights the difficulties of obtaining “sufficient for each day.” What do we mean by “sufficient”?
I used to have a sign above my desk that said, “Bad planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” There are other versions of this but they all carry the same message: “I have no intention of becoming stressed just because you are.”
It’s a bit like this gorilla. He has very little say in what happens to him. He has been captured and placed in a zoo. So he accepts his situation, eats what he is fed, and seems to be content with his lot in life without worrying about the zoo keeper’s stress.
When I was at school, we learned that by the year 2000 we would all have much more free time on our hands. Advances in science would mean that robots would do most of the work, leaving you and me to enjoy a life of leisure.