Neat Little Boxes

What is it with things spilling into each other? We try to put every part of our lives in tidy separate compartments with clear labels “Family”, “Work”, “Friends”, “Health”… and the list goes on. Too often, the distinction between these compartments gets blurred and before you know it, your work is taking over your life, the time you are meant to be spending with your family or bonding with your partner is instead spent replying to emails or taking calls, or at the very least being distracted by one work-related drama or another. Then you’re sitting in meetings seemingly focused on the project at hand, when you start wondering if you’ve booked the next doctor’s appointment for your baby, or if you’ve bought minced meat for the lasagna you plan on cooking tonight or if you should worry about the red light you saw on your dashboard this morning. You’re on holiday trying to “switch off” but your brain is still busy listing the things you need to do, anxiety slowly seeping into your Pina Colada by the beach. How do people manage to “leave” work when they leave work? And how do we not bring our personal lives into the 2-by-2 office we take residence in most hours of the day?

If we were to take an X-ray of our brain, would we find neat boxes aligned in perfect order next to each other, or would it look more like a jumbled mess of wires with no indication of where one ends and the other one starts? We have a limited amount of mental and emotional energy to deal with limitless thoughts and worries. The question is how do we make it all fit without driving ourselves mad? I feel like I have been going in circles and I am touching on one single spot throughout these dizzying rounds. The thought, simply put, is to let go. Let go of seeking perfection in everything you do. Let go of trying to please people. Let go of things you can’t control. Let go of guilt. Let go of fear. Let go of wondering (or worrying) about what people think of you. Let go of trying to be everything, to everyone, all the time.

It is a liberating thought. I can only do one thing at a time. I can’t control everything in the world. I will do the best I can in the time I can. My instinct will lead me and I will know what is actually important. Everything else can wait, and if it so happens that I miss it because I was too late, so be it.

What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe something bad. But maybe, just maybe, life will actually go on.

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