Embarking on this strange little Life In Weeks project with myself has been interesting. My traveling partner inquired, one afternoon while I was coloring tiny squares – weeks of my life on the chart – how would I be staying caught up as time passed, and had I already developed a plan for doing so? Actually, I hadn’t, though I had some vague thoughts on the matter. It seemed fairly clear the perspective would be different than a day-over-day view – like a journal or diary, which is often very focused on minutiae (and drama). I didn’t expect it would be much like a high level annual overview, either, and different still from a ‘timeline’. I contentedly went on coloring, and considering.
At some point, I found myself figuring out how many pages a single blank book would need to have in order to represent one-week-per-page of the remainder of my likely lifespan based on current averages…and wondering if one week of living could be described in so few lines of text. I dislike the idea of attempting to ‘color in’ the week-by-week squares of my life’s events; I think it would lack perspective. I want to be able to look back on these as-yet-unlived weeks from the vantage point of further in the future, with the wisdom the additional living might imply, and greater judgment about what matters most, and do so without forgetting all the details completely. So. This morning I took a few minutes to consider last week. I selected a favorite writing utensil, a Bic medium point, black. I opened a new blank book for the first time in a great while; this seems the sort of thing that might warrant pen and ink, and the sensuous reality of smooth dry paper against the side of my hand. I wrote for only a couple of minutes. Frankly, there wasn’t that much going on in my life last week.
Wait…what? I sat quietly for some time thinking that over. I’ve been thinking it over for some time since. When I look back on my experience in whole weeks of living, much of what I struggle with, and the small day-to-day challenges within relationships, aren’t actually noteworthy in the larger perspective of ‘what was my life about’. My address didn’t change, nor did my job. I didn’t gain or lose friends, lovers, or family members. I did not paint a masterpiece, or publish a great work of literature. I did not radically change my life, or change it in any way obvious to me now that would result in long-term differences in my experience. I don’t know how to explain why this thought would be meaningful to me, but I find that it is a source of some odd bit of calm regarding the day-to-day difficulties, challenges, and drama…because, really, none of that is very relevant in a bigger picture, and more of an irritant, than an issue. I feel more clear-headed, and less overwhelmed by details as a result of this subtle change in perspective.
It’s a lovely day to consider what matters most, and practice practices. I smile when I catch myself thinking what a lovely quiet day it is, realizing that the stillness is within.
Today is a good day for perspective. Today is a good day to follow through on commitments to myself. Today is a good day to enjoy this precious mortal time, and a mild rainy day in the middle of winter. Today is a good day to enjoy what is, without being to wound up about what isn’t. Today is a good day to change my perspective on the world.