- Mental Health
Grow out of Unnecessary Complicating Your Life
"Good, Old Days"
"I wish there was a way to know you are in good old days before you've actually left them."---- Andy Bernard
Let's face it, stress is the sign of our times, which is nothing new---except that it's also one of the biggest paradoxes of our times. Said in a nutshell: these are the best times ever in the whole long history of mankind; and aside of our peculiar passion for complicating our lives, we don't have much of an objective excuse for being stressed out.
In my childhood, and we are talking the time right after the WW2 in the devastated Europe, horses and carts were still a regular feature on roads. Light-switch was the only "high tech" invention in households. To cook your meals, wash yourself, and have some heat in the house, you had to first go chop some firewood and smash off some chunks of coal for your furnace.
Laundry was done manually, clothes and bed sheets were boiled in a huge container for disinfection. TV was unheard of, and families of an average income could not afford a radio. Of course, forget about a luxury of a turntable with the model that had to be wound up.
Truth be told, if there was anything good in life back then, it was simple rejoicing about the war being over and life having been spared by some miracle. It seemed that out of that gratitude people didn't dare to ask for more, and starting all over from scratch still looked so much better than having ended up in a ditch by the road.
Well, speaking for myself, with all those memories of a raw struggle for survival, these are the days when I feel as if living a "science fiction" with all technological advantages which are generally taken for granted, and---judging by the popular level of stress---hardly appreciated.
Having lived through those hard times, and with everything available that's making life so easy these days---I am so aware how it's up to me now to also make it simple for myself.
Youth Was Painting It All in Pink
"Enjoy your youth, you'll never be younger than you are this very moment."
And yet, every so often I hear people of my baby-boomer generation mention those "good, old times". I don't share their nostalgic reminiscing, and with a simple, meant to be eye-opening remark, I remind them how the only good thing about those times was the fact that we were all young then, and youth had a way of painting everything in rosy colors.
Indeed, if you happen to be in my age group or approaching to it, you must be painfully aware how these days we are operating our bodies on less than half of those hormones that used to give us that extra spark of vitality, with that constant horniness running the turbines of our dreams, hopes, and ambitions.
If you would ask a young-and-in-love camel runner in Sahara desert how he feels about his life, he is bound to tell you how even that sandy emptiness looks beautiful.
But don't even bother asking the same that old, pruned dude with that empty look lost somewhere on the horizon. He might tell you something very similar to what a CEO stretched on a therapist's office couch may say between two deep sighs---"Life is so stressful".
Normally I don't like playing a prophet, but maybe just for sake of a little humor, let me say it---one day, some generations from now, people will be ashamed to say they are stressed out.
Honestly, I just can't believe that this crappy mental trend will persist for much longer.
When Complicating Is a Norm of Living
"The most complicated skill is to be simple". ---- Dejan Stojanovic
Well, you don't have to take seriously my amateurish theorizing, but I think our declining hormone situation, along with aging itself was merely the result of all layers of accumulated stress over the years. And most of it totally unnecessary in a retrospect.
It may be due to our collective consciousness which took the attitude of complicating as a norm of living. I would say, we are like that dude in my favorite definition of a hypochondriac who is "only feeling normal when he is feeling crappy".
Seemingly it's a sort of a compulsion to think, feel, and act like everybody else. Maybe out of a need to "belong" to the herd, to tune into a common mode of functioning---to be recognizable, accepted as "one of them". But, whatever the underlying motivation may be, it's silly and unnecessary, and self-destructive in a final analysis.
Thus, it's a small wonder that we can't recognize these times as the best ever. If just for a moment we would see our minds as instruments for processing our reality, a metaphor with musical instruments might be appropriate: so, give an out-of-tune guitar to Eric Clapton and he won't make any music on it---no matter how good notes you give him.
Likewise, give ourselves all advantages of the modern living, and our minds, being out-of-tune, will be producing only "noise, not music".
Why Simple if It Can Be complicated---Says this World
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
---- Albert Einstein
In my working days I would come in on a typical Monday morning softly whistling or humming a happy tune, and having a nice word for everyone, especially female co-workers. Well, I was not flirting in a sense of making a pass at any of them, but I always liked giving them compliments, and they knew that was it.
My happy disposition became contagious over a time, and yet there was always a long face or two that were insisting on being miserable. My boss being one of them would go a step further while mumbling something like : "Man, you are not supposed to be happy on Mondays". Call it insubordination, but I wouldn't follow that instruction.
Well, to borrow my expression from above, I didn't care much to be "recognizable as one of the crowd." Being an oddball was not making me feel either lonely or misunderstood. And it still doesn't.
Now, everybody including myself experiences that initial spike of displeasure when things go wrong. But, when we make a resolve to simplify our life, such negative responses become shorter in duration and so much milder in intensity.
I just can't get it why we carry those lousy responses over to the rest of our daily activities. We like to share our crappy experiences at work with family and friends, and they, as if "to get even", use our ears for their own version of "life sucks" story.
And when you get to my age of over seventy, every damn getting together with friends resembles a group therapy session, while everyone around has something to report about bad health, bad weather, bad anything.
Really, when you think about it, why can't people leave it all behind and try to have fun, to insist on humor, gossip about celebrities, listen to music, play a card game, and lie to one another how good they look.
Masters of a Routinized Life---but Still Tense
"If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath."
---- Amit Ray
When someone tells me they can't relax, I ask them : "How do you manage to fall asleep at night?" Really, what exactly do we do with all those worries, frustrations, grudges, impatience, and all other pearls of complicating at our bed time?
How do we succeed to loosen down all muscles and nerves to be able to sink into that oblivion where none of that emotional crap seems to matter anymore? How is the mechanism of falling asleep different from relaxing during the day, other than we don't "overdo" it by falling asleep?
It's truly amazing how we reserve that ability only for our bed time, ably sweeping it all under the rug---until the next morning when we sweep all the crap out again to continue tormenting ourselves with that same old passion of complicating our lives.
Besides, in our daily practice of living there is hardly anything that we have not done so many times before, actually so much so that we could freely just decide to "go through the motions" and not even bother thinking about it.
So, why do we need our faces, our shoulders, our stomachs to be in a constant state of a spasm, as if that well familiar routine is demanding an extra tense attention in order to be performed?
Is anybody after our ass while we are just sitting on our couch and watching TV---because we even complicate those moments of a deserved rest.
With an Awakened Spirit
"I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job, because he will find an easy way to do it." ---- Ziad K. Abdelnour
All it really takes is awakening of our spirit enough to realize that it's all of our own make---all of our responsiveness to life. No one is pissing us off, trust me, we choose it---consciously or unconsciously, and with some of that spirit awakened we may choose to stop doing it to ourselves.
The world is not about terrorists, bad politicians, high cost of medical insurance, climate change, and a nagging spouse---it's about our response to all that.
We are not helpless automatons waiting to see what kind of emotions will "befall" us. They are our constructs, together with our attitude, our beliefs, and our dominant thoughts during the day.
So, let's wake up and stop complicating this life, we don't know if we'll get another one to make it better. Everybody knows on their gut level how they are making things complicated for themselves, and there is no magic bullet to undo it, other than befriending ourselves enough not to do it anymore. Let's face it, folks, if we were doing to our friends what we sometimes intimately do to ourselves, we wouldn't have many friends---if any at all. Agree?