• amanda

More ice cream, less beans

By around age 50 (or somewhere either side), we have done the same things many, many times. I did some maths for fun (said no one ever), and it was a bit mind-blowing:

50 years = 2 600 weeks, okay, this I can wrap my head around

2 600 weeks = 18 200 days, hmm, that's a lot of days

18 200 days = 436 800 hours, turns out I really did have enough hours in my day

436 800 hours = 26 208 000 minutes, WHERE DID THEY GO?!

I think about all those millions of minutes spent doing things by rote, out of habit. And this is a great time-saving feature of being a human, but it makes me a little nostalgic for the earlier minutes when things were new and fresh. When there was less doing and more being in the moment.

I am a very practical, common sense person, and for the most part, this serves me well. But, sometimes I wish I was the kind of person who jumped in a car with people I barely know to have a camping adventure somewhere unknown. Sometimes I wish I was the kind of person who impulsively flies away to a silent retreat in an ashram in India. But I am pragmatic and sensible and responsible for 2 big kids, a house, a business ... so I overthink, and here I am.

This is not a regret - I love my life and being the grown-up is a role I have needed to fill over the past 10 years, especially when my divorce was like the craziest circus in town. It was a time when every day brought a new disaster, another explosive confession, or mind-boggling demand.

Once that crazy circus left town, what I craved was knowing what was around the corner. I wanted to be in control of how my days and weeks looked, and to have agency over how I lived my life. It was like a balm, and it took years for my stress levels to even out and to find my equilibrium.

Sometimes we have to do the things we do in a certain way to get by, get them done, move on. But, when that is not necessary, how can we find novelty and variety right where we are, without having to go anywhere? How can we find freshness within the familiar?

It doesn't have to be complicated. Walk a different path. Catch up with a friend without a time limit or agenda. Go to the movies in the middle of the day by yourself. Play loud music and waggle your tail. Run don't walk. Or walk, don't run. Simply wander and really observe. Loosen the reins of 'should's and 'have to's, and replace them with the question "how can I do this differently?".

There is absolute value in the familiar, a sense of comfort and coming home. There is also value in novelty, failing, floundering and finding our own edge.

It is only by living through the millions of minutes of our lives, that we know when to come home and when to explore. The more we experience - good and bad, dark and light, bitter and sweet, novel and comfortable - the more we get to know ourselves and to learn what we need in each moment, and each stage of our lives.

Nadine Stair (at 85) in 'If I Had My Life To Live Over' writes:


I would eat more icecream and less beans

I would perhaps have more actual troubles but

I'd have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I'm one of those people who live

sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I've had my moments and if I had it to do over again,

I'd have more of them. In fact,

I'd try to have nothing else, just moments.

One after the other, instead of living so many

years ahead of each day.


Where can you find more moments in your everyday life? Can you eat more icecream and less beans?

With love,

Amanda xx

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