As I sit here in the anticipation of writing this post, I feel a level of anxiety thinking of how this post will force me to reminisce on the past not so distant. I used to use accomplishing tasks as a way to measure my success and to be frank, I likely still hold onto this measure in some ways. My identity was completely intertwined with this work and it lead me to an inflection point.
Everyone claims they are busy. It is oftentimes, the pre-script answer when you ask someone how they are. I’ve often done this myself many times when not asking how the weather is. Having a child has showed me the importance of slowing down and being present in conversations and interactions I have. It also helped me realize how infrequently I had been able to achieve this state. It is clear that I have a wandering mind and although not uncommon, it was something I didn’t completely realize.
When it comes to the forces that have brought me to this point, I think they are heavily influenced in the way in which I have crafted my lifestyle. For as long as I can remember, I have watched movies while I work. It started in university leading to a solid 65–70% average for an art program where I could have easily hit the high 80’s. Whether writing, editing or coordinating projects, all have been married to the background noise of storylines I forget a few seconds after ingesting. It’s an unhealthy habit that has had bigger consequences than I could have ever expected.
Silence scares me unless I’m in nature.
How does a person go this far in their life knowing the habits they have created are incredibly unhealthy? I think that is a reality of habits. Unless you have a true desire to make a change, transformations are impossible.
I’ve started to consider ways in which to leverage the need to create in a healthy way. Having a desire to accomplish isn’t a bad thing if you are able to use it to help versus hinder and I think that’s what got in my way. Taking back the power of accomplishment simply means taking smaller bite sized chunks as my means of measure. Break down the walls of needing to be perfect, feeling imposter syndrome around every corner and just be.
Consistency is a much more honourable trait than perfection.
As I try to establish healthy routines, I realize that one change at a time won’t work. Change requires a consistent effort of wading through the moments of weakness. Change takes time and having strategies to deal with your old realities are imperative.
I’ve felt lost for two years and I’ve come to realize that feeling lost is a symptom of slowing down and realizing I’ve lived a life looking for those dopamine hits rather than a sustainable life built on a strong value system and set of beliefs — let’s say my guiding light.
Holding onto old ways of thinking impacted the way I lived my life on a tactile level. I don’t like to get rid of things that I see could offer value in the future. In reality, the hoarding of these things acted as a way to connect me to my old life, serving no purpose in the present. This looked like cabinets full of camera equipment, home improvement leftovers and camping accessories, organized much like my brain.
As I start on my quest of a slower lifestyle, this comes with some serious lifestyle design work. From decluttering to systemizing the way in which I approach each aspect, I am moving towards a slower lifestyle in hopes of calming the mind and reconnecting with the desire to share stories.
What I have come to realize is that failure is part of the road to success and in this quest to simplify, I know failure will rear its ugly head. No matter how many times you fail when trying to rework the way you live your life, the key is to keep trying. As Seth Godin put it, ‘Anyone can go slow. It takes a special kind of commitment to do it steadily, drip after drip, until you get to where you’re going’. This is my approach and in moments where I feel enough is enough, those are the moments to leverage and build momentum off of.
Hurrying up to slow down means that I’ve started to unload what I don’t use on a regular basis. I’ve started to move towards a minimalist lifestyle. I’ve focused on being present in as many moments as possible, from eating, to driving, to every single task I undertake. I have started to own the day early by loading up the front end of my days. I’ve mastered the act of saying ‘no’. No matter how busy I am, my focus is on building relationships and fostering the ones that I’ve already formed. I’ve integrated unproductive time into my schedule. I’ve started to wrap tasks around habits to try introduce consistency across all areas of my life. If found hobbies outside of my profession and I’ve started to focus more on self care. Through all of this change though, I’ve realized that slow and steady is much better than running towards the finish line.