For the longest time, I lived my life asleep. I slept-walked to class, I slept through my homework, I slept through my experiences with friends. My mind stayed numb while scrolling through Instagram, while in meetings, while driving. This sounds familiar because this is part of the drudgery that we all experience. Mine seemed to be exceptionally terrible, because I knew at one point in my life I had been awake. I remembered feeling vivid feelings, seeing vivid colors, being able to enjoy the moment. The lack of intensity in life was frustrating me.
The lack of focus in one’s life is an epidemic. We stare into our screens, scrolling through people we hate and places we’ve never been, pinning DIYs we’ll never make. We numb and ignore our relationships, our animals, our experiences. Numbing is easier than the reality.
I don’t have it all figured out. The numbness is still here on days I lack the energy to be deliberate. But I am attempting to find meaning in my days, in my movements and actions. I’m making time to cook, to experiment with my bread machine more and my tiny kitchen. I’m making time to play extensively with Eleanor. I’m working on listening better, on conversing better, on living in the moment with those around me.
My mission clearly starts with deliberate living. I want to solidify my relationships, grow my interests and knowledge, and be able to say with confidence that I connect with those around me. It has been too often in my past that I say that I’m listening, only to be thinking about the latest political news, or tuning out completely. I’m embarrassed by the unintentional relationships I’ve managed to keep afloat this far; I promise I’ll do better.
The first step is acceptance, and I do accept. I want to be deliberate. I want to celebrate and cry and fight and grow with the people I care about. I want to deliberately choose to pursue my interests, without the need for the newest trinkets and toys. I want less pacifiers and more intentionality. This is the one life we lead, so why should I drudge through ridiculousness to do what I want to do only in my free time?
Henry David Thoreau philosophized about a deliberate life, one with meaning and purpose and joy and fulfillment. He was a common, everyday man who lived his life deliberately, with only the things he needed, and spoke highly of the outdoors and simplifying life. Thoreau disappeared into the wilderness to get away from it all, to live in a cabin alone, contemplating life, missions, and the truly important things. His teachings live on and have been replicated over and over again. Those before and after him have preached on deliberateness, on the overwhelming existence we’ve created around us. Spiritual teachers, outdoor educators, even the man next door, all see the value in the wilderness, among the Wild.