Having come through several months where my life has felt like a tunnel, and getting through has simply meant addressing the next urgent task on the ‘To Do’ List, I’ve had a realisation: I want more space in my life.
Although I took on additional work intentionally, knowing it would be a ‘busy’ patch, I didn’t appreciate, till after the fact, how soul-sapping it is to defer the activities that bring me joy. And, while I’m proud of the work I’ve done and managed to pull it off without permanently breaking any important relationships, or indeed breaking myself, I’m also clear I don’t want to be working (or living) in this way again. (You heard it here first!).
This has given me cause to pause; to consider what’s been missing and what I need to include in my life to really feel that I am walking my talk and truly deliberately crafting a delicious second half.
Not surprisingly, it turns out that what’s been missing are the activities that give me real joy – as opposed to those that are purely satisfying. The list is relatively simple:
- taking time to research, cook and plate delicious, nourishing, healthy food
- shopping for, wearing and caring for clothes that make me feel and look good
- going to movies (the ones the make me smile)
- having good, heart-felt conversations
- hanging out with my Beloveds
- time for creative thought
- time for writing
- time to learn new things
Of course it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the common denominator is time. More than that though, it’s a sense of spaciousness. I’ve also heard this referred to as ‘white space’ or ‘margin’. Either way it’s the unfilled spaces in our lives in which we get to choose what we do, instead of feeling compelled to fulfil the demands of our ‘To Do’ list, our technology or the expectations of others. Space in which we can free-wheel, and allow our heads and hearts to expand.
And it’s this sense of spaciousness that’s been missing for me in the last few months. Space to regenerate physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Space for the physical – so I’m not just wedging in the odd walk and scarfing down quick-energy-hit food to refuel, but space to be mindful of how I’m moving my body, how it feels and what it needs. Space to consider what I want to eat, what nourishes me and to take the time to plan, prepare and savour it. Space to consider what I’m wearing and how it feels on my skin.
Space for the emotional – so I’m not just ignoring the subtle messages of anxiety, sadness or even delight, because I’m so focused on what I’m doing or the next thing that needs my attention. Space to allow myself long enough to notice what I’m feeling, honour it and respond with self-compassion to the subtle messages that are being offered.
Space for the mental – so I’m not just focusing on what I must do and never getting to the possibility-thinking that really makes me feel alive and aligned with my highest gifts. Space to ponder and think, with no agenda or deadline, to allow my mind to simply wander and generate new ideas – or not.
Space for the spiritual – so I don’t find myself asking why am I doing this? Space so that I stay connected to what, and who, is most important to me and can be deliberate in choosing to spend my time in ways that align with my greater purpose.
While I’m completely in agreement that life has its seasons and there are inevitably some seasons that are busier than others, in my midlife wisdom, I am becoming clearer that I am less inclined to sacrifice days or months of my life on the altar of ‘busyness’. Instead I’m drawn to the spaciousness I get to create when I am deliberate in my choices.
I’d love to tell you I’ve got it sorted. Maybe that will come. But I’m taking my first tentative steps by marking out white space in my diary, re-visiting my purpose and deliberately choosing to spend more time on the things that bring me joy.
And you, are you feeling the desire for more space in your life?