Today, after dropping Mina off for school, Sim and I went for a walk in the country, which is not so easy, when you live in the centre of London.
We managed to find a little village, Woldingham, nestled into the North Downs, 30 mins out by train, to do an eleven-kilometre circular walk, through fields, clean air and ancient woodland, yet still be back in time to pick Mina up from school, at 3:15pm.
It was very much a last minute decision – literally made around midnight last night.
We’d never been to Woldingham before (nor even heard of it).
As we were leaving Clapham Junction, commuters were piling into London; going counter to this river of workers felt like we were bunking school, skipping a day’s work.
There were certainly many other things we could be doing, and arguably some things we should be doing, but we decided they could wait.
What, truly, was the rush?
What would happen if we postponed some work until next week?
Was there anything so urgent it couldn’t keep?
I share this because it is an organic, practical manifestation of my recent post; it is the “walk” of that “talk” (literally, and metaphorically!).
We all have such pressures on our time.
Some are valid.
Many times – perhaps most of the time – they are not.
They are perceived pressures.
Worse still; they are pressures we alone put on ourselves.
“I need to achieve this..”
“I need to do that…”
“Need” is a dangerous word for self-talk.
As is “should“.
Ask yourself; do you really, truly, need to do whatever it is?
What would actually happen if you didn’t do it?
What would be the fallout you fear so much, such that justifies the pressure you ascribe to it?
To paraphrase myself from a few days ago; life is too beautiful, too interesting and too short to be spent doing things only because you think you should be doing them.
Perhaps, if you analyse certain behaviours, beliefs and tasks with a truly open mind, you might realise there is a lot of wastage of precious time in your life.
Once you realise that – if one can overcome one’s ego – that time could be re-appropriated, put to “better” use.
Of course, “better” is subjective; we all have our own measurement of what is better for us.
For me, today, it simply meant spending some time chatting with my wife, just the two of us, inhaling the clean fresh air of the British countryside, catching fleeting glimpses of wild animals, stamping in small ice patches like kids, laughing in the pleasant winter sun.
Moreover, it helped remind me of something fundamentally important to us all:
Life is to be lived, not just planned