Taj Mahal in the Moonlight – India
I think too much. I over-think. Many people have told me this over the years. Do you? There isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with introspection, but to dwell in the interior ad nauseam can be a bit much I think. I can remember my ex-wife accusingly calling me a deep thinker, like it was some kind of disease or affliction. And coming from the exact opposite mindset it probably looked like a disease to her. No real right or wrong here, we were just polar opposites. Extreme examples the exterior versus the interior and visa versa. And here I go, once again, over-analyzing the past instead of getting on with the present.
Introspection, or over-thinking, can provide context to the present, but at the risk of overshadowing the now. It can easily put blinders on our eyes that limits our vision of the now, the present. I think that maybe it’s better to just experience the present, as it unfolds, than to try and find deep meaning in everything. The now can be a wonderful place in and of itself. And an unfortunate side-affect of aging can be becoming less flexible; not only less flexible in our muscles, but also less flexible in our thinking and with our emotions.
We are, after all, creatures of habit for the most part. Always seeking the path of least resistance and our own particular comfort zone. So often our knee-jerk reaction, to being asked to try something new and different, is to swiftly say no—we say it without even thinking about it. Why do you suppose that is? Why do we grow more timid and fearful; why is our tolerance to risk diminished? Is it an acknowledgement of our human frailty?
Freedom is many things to many people. There is physical freedom of course, but there is also emotional and intellectual freedom. Just as a ball-and-chain restricts our physical freedom, past experience, judgements and routine can restrict our intellectual and emotional freedom. I look at the differences between my younger and older acquaintances—it’s not just the physical energy and stamina that separates them, but the emotional and intellectual energy and stamina. It’s as simple as staying at a youth hostel versus a resort hotel. The two worlds are miles apart.
So many of my older friends and acquaintances are stuck in prisons of their own making. And what really saddens me is when I see some of my younger friends beginning to construct their own prison cells for future occupation. When faced with life-challenging situations and events people tend to go one way or the other—they rarely remain static. They either make their escape towards freedom or, all too often, just reinforce their own prison walls. We all have a choice.
When asked to step out of my comfort zone I try to say yes (except dancing or singing). Simple, but simple is not always easy. So, are you content to be content? Many people are, and I’ve come to realize that is okay too (we’re not all meant to be the same thank goodness). But if you’re not content to be content are you doing something about it? Maybe the next time you’re asked to step out of your comfort zone, your routine, you should just say yes. That’s what Joel and I are trying to do on this world adventure. How many times can I say yes before passing on to my permanent comfort zone?