Monday, July 30, 2018

Tunnel Vision

A few weeks ago, I realized that throwing myself full force into everything isn't always a good thing. Kind of sad that I'm just now figuring this out in my sixth decade of life, but there you have it.

Why do I do this? Race and run, push instead of flow?

Because time is short. Life is short and there is so much to do, so much to read, so much to know. There are so many things I want to do and, as I get older, the list seems to get longer, not shorter. Consequently, I feel as though I'm always in a hurry, skimming the surface, checking things off my list.

But the list never ends.

By not giving myself time to absorb one thing before launching into another, I end up giving short shrift to both things and, in time, to everything. Knowing what I now know about memory, I suspect that flying through life accomplishing much at a superficial level means I'm only partially encoding a lot of things and so later, when I try to retrieve them, I struggle.

In other words, it can seem like I never did them at all. Or, perhaps worse, that my memory is failing when, in fact, it's simply operating on a garbage in-garbage out paradigm.

If my January goal was "just say no," my July goal, aided and abetted by a week's vacation at the beach, is to breathe, slow down and take it all in. Ditch the tunnel vision, or at least pop a few bricks out of the tunnel to let in the light from outside. Too much time in the tunnel can convince us that life outside is merely a distraction or, worse yet, that stepping outside is too risky.

When we become too driven by purpose and goals, we can forget that we also need time to rest. To conserve. To consolidate. To stop throwing ourselves at tasks and just be.

Sounds nice, doesn't it?

If you're like me, it also sounds hard. And that's a little scary.

So here and now, just beyond the midpoint of the year, I'm going to mix things up. I'm going to take a piece of my tunnel vision outside the tunnel and set a goal to chill out. To accept the fact that, sometimes, my purpose is simply to be in the moment. Be on the beach, or the High Line or my back patio with nature or my family or a good book. These are the things that recharge and bring balance, giving me the energy to power forward when I get back in that tunnel.

These are the things that matter. And so we should savor them.

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