July 25, 2013
How to Nip a Whim in the Bud
I want to breath in lungfuls of fresh air each morning. I want to be able to step out my back door and walk for miles along beautiful paths to glorious views. I want to be alone- not a soul around for miles. I want to know the ways and lives of the animals and birds. I want to be re-acquainted with the faces of the moon. I want to feel the rainstorm crash through my bones and the sun entangle in my hair. I want to live in quiet serenity and awe of the huge trees in the forest, the slow dance of the seasons, and the webs that bind us to each other.
I am two breaths from calling up my Best Beloved and suggesting we move to somewhere in the midwest where the land is cheap (relatively) and the people are sparse.
But I won't.
The country as I am imagining it is a collage of scenes from romantic movies, gothic books, and pictures from the turn of the century. Images where the young noble woman spends hours drifting through the woods, a book in her hand and no destination in her feet. Where she returns home to the manor to set a simple table, or have her maids do it. Where family and friends are a mile or two stroll through meadows, farms and hills.
Unfortunately, if I move to the country with my Best Beloved, our lives won't be like that. For one thing, we would need to live in town considering our potential jobs and our grad school debts. The isolation I crave would be impossible or else require a very long commute into work each day. If so a commute, then groceries, supplies and other necessities would also be far away.
Entertainment would not be so varied or available as it is in a larger city. There would not be, from my handful of experiences, the same people with varied and unique interests. Yes, there would be outdoors, but they would not be the vast forests I have imagined of England and I would probably not have hours to walk through them every day.
In short, the sudden passion for the simple, outdoor life brought on by being caught in rain storms for two successive days is just a whim.
Everyday, my mind is filled with half filled plans that are more passion than thought. They can verge from the dramatic- quitting school to devote myself to writing- to the simple - picking up a free, metal shelving unit for my closet without measuring. Does the same happen to you?
I indulge in these whims too often. My sewing box overflows with half started projects that seemed like a brilliant idea for the first few hours. There are a number of books bought on impulse and never read on my bookshelf. My relationships with friends and family are littered with excited plans to do things that were backed out of at the last moment. I do have a large metal shelf that is too large for my closet looming at the foot of my bed.
Usually, these impulses are not overly damaging. Eventually, I'll finish the projects, read the books, do things with my family and figure out what the heck to do with this shelf. The disappointments are worn away with time and other activities.
Luckily, I've avoided committing myself to any big or life changing plans on a whim like moving to Israel, joining the army, giving away all my possessions, moving to a hermitage, taking random jobs, etc. (Yes, these have all been thoughts at one point or another.) But there is a lot of energy put into the initial stages and planning of a project. To see it abandoned as the whim fades, is painful and makes me wonder if I will ever be able to see anything through to completion. These disappointments are not worn away so easily. So while whims may seem, well, whimsical, indulging often in them is not.
There are four steps that I have found to nipping a whim in the bud before you can tack on any energy, time or money into indulging it.
1. Identify that this is a whim. Realize what was the origin of this new whim. Was it a book you just read? A movie? Were you listening to a certain type of conversation? Or music?
2. Think deeply about this whim. What exactly do you want to do? As I showed at the beginning of this post, my idea of moving to the country was more than just a simple move to a less populated part of the country. Often times, this will reveal the unrealistic expectations behind the whim.
3. Rationally think about the consequences of the whim. A good imagination is just as good as coming up with downsides as it is with coming up with the pro's of a whim if given the right motivation. A move to the country does not just entail a deeper- possible- connection with nature. It also means leaving the culture that I enjoy surrounding myself with and separating further from friends and family. Once the good and bad sides of a whim are revealed, it generally loses the immediate, passionate appeal.
4. See if you can incorporate some part of the real whim into your every day life. I am clearly missing a connection with nature- so I can take a walk this weekend and enjoy the outdoors a bit more. This may cut down on further whims and further indulgences later.
Whims can add joyful spontaneity in life. Obviously, the answer isn't to cut them out completely. However, you should be able to choose which whims to indulge in- not be victim to every passing one.
What whims have you had? Do you regret any?
Posted by Lynette at Thursday, July 25, 2013