Wednesday 16 June 2010

The compass and the egg timer

Luke, my worldly yet wise 26 year old brother is visiting.  And with him, comes his unique wisdom and insight.

We've been discussing life - my life in particular, as I (belatedly!) realise that I'm about to turn 40 and have probably lived over half my life.  Now there's a sombering thought!

I've always maintained that aging is not an issue if you have no regrets.  At different stages in life, we explore different themes - motherhood, career, success, study, sexuality, domesticity, spirituality, physical attractiveness... to name but a few.

Luke's point is that, as we explore each theme, it becomes our compass... a guiding star, our 'true north'.  However, he pointed out, when setting out northwards from London, we can pass through Scotland, Norway, and the Arctic Circle and, if we keep on going, we eventually start going southwards!

So, how do we know when we've gone far enough? How do we avoid over-shooting our aim?  How do we know when we have explored a theme as fully as we need to, at that point in time?

Enter the Egg Timer!  Luke believes that creating measurable goals helps us know when we've reached our North Pole.  He reminded me of a mutual friend who has a very clear inner compass but, he never seems happy.  It's because he, being in competition with himself, there is never enough.  He can never sit back and see his achievements, and savour them, because he's always searching for more... and more... and more.

Sometimes, it's helpful to say, "Enough".  To relish the journey and to enjoy the outcomes - whether they are enhanced wisdom, greater understanding, more money, a better figure, greater peace... We can always come back to the theme again... explore it in new ways... play with it from a different perspective.

Having a direction can be helpful.  And, having a destination - whether it's the ultimate destination or just a pit stop along the way - lends our journey focus, cohesion, structure... and a vantage point from which to look back, even as we move on.

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