I’ve sort of been on an unintended hiatus. Everything is fine, but the problem is that I’ve gone and gotten myself into an introspective hole. Those of you who know me well might be scratching your heads, wondering how this is different than normal. But I dove deep this time. Too deep almost, to write. I’m just now coming up for air.
I blame this unexpected episode on my approaching birthday. It’s not really getting older that has me all wound up. But it does have to do with the age I’m about to turn. Forty two. I’ve anticipated this birthday for a long time. If you’ve read Douglas Adam’s “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” you will recall that 42 is the Answer. But of course (as our heros learn) the crux of it all lies in discovering the exact right question. You know the one – about Life, the Universe, and Everything!
It sounds silly, I know, to revolve my life around a science fiction novel, but I can’t help it. If 42 is indeed the Answer, then I want to be ready. I want my mind well prepared for when the question comes. So I’ve put in some serious time lately, thinking about all the little things that make up my life, the universe, and everything. I’ve turned off the auto-pilot and have instead made an effort to examine things head-on. And let me tell you, it’s exhausting. Not in a bad way, but in a sort of all consuming way. An introspective hole sort of way.
Now don’t laugh. I’m not expecting to have it “all figured out” by the time I reach 42, but I do feel like I should have a pretty good grasp on what makes me tick. And mostly I do. The challenge, I’m realizing, is cutting out all of the clutter and fluff that gets in the way. It’s a lot of work keeping the landing strip clear.
I’ll be careful here, because I am still teetering on the edge of my hole. But this lead up to 42 has taught me something about myself. We live in a world that continually offers us more. The access that most of us have to places, people, music, food, literature, art, information, and stuff of all sorts is absolutely stunning. And that’s good, right?
Maybe, but it can also be overwhelming. It’s taken me a lot of work to discover that what I really want is less. Less of the empty noise for sure, but even less of all the brilliant things that are right at my fingertips. The fact that we can tap into so much, so frequently sometimes leaves me feeling a little diluted. I have to admit that some days I crave a smaller world.
As 42 approaches, that’s what I’m after. Deliberate smallness. I figure the best way to invite less into my life is to be mindful. To remember that it’s possible (more likely even) to find richness in the ordinary. To turn off distractions and tune into exactly what is in front of me. Because with all probability, the the real question is lurking someplace as innocuous as my compost pile.