When Our Minds Get Clouded By The Way “It Should Be”
How I find the space to dream
It happened on the first day of my vacation this summer. I had nothing planned and was wondering what to do with my leisure time. The weather forecast predicted a sunny day and I made a decision, very very unusual for me. I decided to get up early and go for a swim in the lido of my city. It still sounds nuts to a part of me, since I’m not a great swimmer and I was so overtired, I actually thought I’d sleep in every day of my vacation.
Yet, I managed to get up around the same time I have to get up for work and dragged myself out of the house. I drove through the empty streets, actually cursing myself, and I arrived at the lido — where an unexpected silence welcomed me. There were no kids running around and screaming joy out of their lungs. There weren’t any sounds of bodies crashing through the surface of the water. There was just the sound of gently rushing water caused by the swimmers conquering the pool at their pace. Some of them obviously trained, some of them pensioners just enjoying the movement in the morning sun.
And there was me. Astonished by the sounds and the silence, as I made my way into the water, which hit me with its coldness and simultaneously invited me further in. I planned on swimming twenty rounds in the pool, and at some point, everything I was juggling within my mind vanished.
I was just swimming, coordinating my legs and arms, and optimizing my breathing. I felt the water on my skin and blinked in the sun. Afterward, I let myself dry in the sun and while I was lying there, I realized that I reached something, that is best described as peace of mind. I was in that moment, feeling the wind and the warmth and listening to the sound of the other swimmers. I was there with all of me and when I left the lido that first morning, I felt recovered. I felt more recovered than after ten hours of sleep. Yet, I couldn’t put my finger on what happened exactly.
So I went swimming early in the morning the whole week and it hit me. For the first time in what felt like years, I was excited to get up in the morning again. A kind of excitement that made the hours of sleep I got almost unnecessary. Excited to be outside, breathe the morning air, greet the silence and feel the sun on my skin in the water. My mind was clear, aware of the sensations around me, and the things that seem so overly important in my day-to-day vanished in comparison to the joy — of life.
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed in our daily life by the tasks that await us. It’s easy to get consumed by the annoyances at work and it’s definitely easy to get our minds clouded by the way it should be. We stress about to-do lists, never focusing on one point, but already sweating over the next three. We endlessly compare ourselves to everyone in our lives. We stress about the opinions of others, or chase things, which carry no value, but are prone to show the world what we accomplished and what we are worth. We live on autopilot to a certain degree, in our daily routine.
But who said, that this is the way it should be?
Of course, we have work to do, bills to pay, a family to take care of, and other obligations. However, we also have the obligation to be aware of the fact, that this is our life and those moments of awareness benefit us. They allow us to bring everything into perspective. They give us space and time to dream and to consider, what’s important to us in life.
For me, that morning swim is a precious moment of awareness. I can’t go swimming every morning, since I’m back to work, but I do integrate it into my week as often as possible. That moment of awareness is a much-needed reminder for me, that I have the choice of what to do with my life and how to live it. And we all have that choice. We can sprint through our day-to-day on autopilot or we can take the time to be aware of what we do in life and if that’s what we want to do. And most importantly, if we really need to stress about certain things.
In the end, we forget so quickly, that the times we are living right now, are someday the times our future selves wish we could revisit.