I have often commented on the way barefoot running has slowed me down and made me look at other parts of my life. It is clear that I have a problem that needs some work. How did life become so complicated? Sometimes I have so much to do, I do nothing because I don’t know where to begin.
I feel like I am constantly on the move. I run from place to pace. I am time poor and definitely not money rich. If I could start over I would. Clean slate, start again. Well not quite. I have a wonderful family. As a family, it feels like it would be good to start over, count our blessings and get off the treadmill.
I am not an original thinker here. I am jumping on a bandwagon that is gaining pace. The TV is full of representations of happiness being found through off-grid living. There are many books and websites suggesting ways to make money doing the thing you love. Some feel real and others don’t. Barefoot Beginner and our market stall selling beer are experiments in that philosophy. Both are incredible fun but at the moment just add to the racing around.
The amount of incoming information I deal with each day is huge. I spend a good deal of time processing, sorting and acting on it. I am not alone. I am good at it. I use a system promoted by Mark Forster in his book ‘Do it Tomorrow’. Unless something is life or death, I take all today’s incoming and put on one side until tomorrow. I then only deal with it if it relevant.
I do check my email too often though. I also check facebook too regularly. Could I get rid of them altogether? Not at the moment. So..I need a few rules. I have them at work. I check my emails for emergencies periodically but only act on them once a day. I need to transfer this across to my personal life.
The truth is that I can’t wipe the slate clean. I have a mortgage and like most people, I am working hard with my head down to get it paid off. I seem to have a utopian view of how my life will be when I am mortgage free. A bit like holding my breath for a couple of lengths before I can breathe again. My life feels like it is on hold until I reach that point but it is too far away. If I accept that I am going to be swimming a few miles then I am going to need to learn to breathe as I go OK – Dodgy metaphor but it works in my head.
Is it possible to live more sustainably than the crazy way I do at the moment?
I teach for a living…or rather I used to. I now spend my time on a myriad of other things. Mostly, I spend my time proving that the children are being taught rather than actually teaching them. I sometimes wonder how much more we could accomplish if we could just concentrate on teaching the children the things they need to know. Maths is a classic example. We have spent the best part of a decade making maths so complicated and are only just realising that it need not be like that. Simple is usually best.
My own social life is simple. I don’t have one. There just isn’t time. We have friends but we don’t really get together because we are all exhausted. I am yearning for a slower life where we share time, food and experiences with our family and friends. We go to work, come back to our individual boxes knackered, run the kids around from club to club and repeat. We plan social events sometimes but they are not a routine part of life. They should be. I have plenty of good intentions but life is just too hectic and fast and another year has gone past before I know it.
So…what is the answer? Something needs to change. Where to begin? I think the answer may start with people and giving some time. Offering time I don’t feel I have and asking nothing in return. Living for today rather than planning for a point in the future that may never arrive.
Barefoot running helps me with that. It has slowed me down and made me question things. I have found camaraderie and running in general has always helped me deal with the the hurley burley. It keeps me level. The tipping point is edging ever closer.