21 Sep, 2018

Let Life Happen to You

New York is just 3 hours ahead of California, but that doesn’t make California slow. Someone graduated at the age of 22, but waited 5 years before securing a good job. Someone became a CEO at 25, and died at 50. While another became a CEO at 50, and lived to 90 years. Someone is still single, while someone else got married. Obama retired at 55 and Trump started at 70. Everyone in this world works based on their time zone. People around you might seem to be ahead of you. But everyone is running their own race, in their own time. Do not envy them and do not mock them. They are in their time zone, and you are in yours. Life is about waiting for the right moment to act. So, relax. You are not late. You’re not early. You are very much on time.”

– I wish I knew who wrote this!

Goals are great. We need to be constantly stretched in order to grow. And change, as I learn almost every season, is not always a bad thing.

But we put so much pressure on ourselves for things to happen now. Microwaved happiness, microwaved connections, microwaved success or healing even.

Hardly anything is that tenuous slow-burn anymore.

I for one, can get so either mired in the past and what I would change, or live so far off in the future its borderline La La Land… which is the thing psychiatrists and life coaches tell you not to do if you want anxiety attacks and the feeling of being overwhelmed all the time.

It also doesn’t help when others conveniently assume that you’re on society’s great unwritten timetable. You’re in your teens and it’s, What are you going to do after high school? In your 20s it’s, What are you going to do after graduation? Have you gotten that dream job yet?  

In your 30s, it’s When are you getting married? When are you having kids? Where is your career going? How much are you saving? When’s the investment property happening? questions.

And then finally one day, you’re standing in your kitchen, interrogated (ok–in a friendly, motherly way) by your dear cleaning lady whom you consider family, justifying why you want to leave your corporate job and why you don’t necessarily want kids. And to Please. Stop. Asking.

My point is to not let yourself be rushed by others. And worse still, to not feel like you’re wrong or weird if you don’t want any of the things that you’re ‘meant’ to have. If you don’t want kids at all, that’s cool. If you want to focus solely on your career, you do you. And it’s ok to change your mind in between. Nobody has to tell men these things.

Side note on mothers: I look at mums with a mixture of worship and amazement at how they beautifully, imperfectly, fervently live their lives. Mothers of all ages and life stages inspire me daily. They’ll tell you it takes a village and indeed, some are a little more fortunate than others in terms of support. But that doesn’t diminish my awe for them (and how intimidated I’d be in their shoes).

This whole timing thing applies to the idea of success and ‘making it’ too. Who wouldn’t want to be an overnight success.

It can be so tempting as an [insert your job here] to look at your peers and feel like you’re lagging behind. Like, Why hasn’t my business taken off yet? Why was I overlooked for that promotion? Why is my art not as impactful or recognised as XYZ’s yet?  

Sadly I don’t have answers for you. But I do have a theory that hustle and heart will set you apart. I tell myself on less than Instagram-worthy days to work hard, have faith, keep swimming in your own lane without feeling like you need to pop your head up out of the water to check where the competition are. Something good is coming around the corner. (And P.S. the grass is not greener. They used a filter, as I once read).

But coming back to why we’re here. If you’re waiting for that perfect something to happen to you in order to be happy, feel complete, finally feel fulfilled… you could be waiting a long time.

  1. Be here now.
  2. Be here now.
  3. The past is not where you live.
  4. The future is going to happen anyway.
  5. Just enjoy being here, now. This pain, happiness, joy is teaching you something.

Before I start spiralling, I often remind myself to come back to this moment. And tell myself it’ll happen when it happens. And that’s ok.

It can seem laughable in these moments to think of things like beauty or art, or even aromatherapy. But it’s these sensorial elements of what we smell, touch, feel—which help us anchor us back to this moment.

  1. Do a body scan from top to toe. Observe how you feel in this moment, without judgment.
  2. Write it down.
  3. Get still and very quiet. Apply or diffuse your favourite meditative essential oils (we love Recovery Mode – though it may seem dark and low in energy at first whiff thanks to its super calming sandalwood, think of it is a blanket encouraging you to pause. Mmerci Encore’s Nightshade Sleep Mode blend also works like a treat and needn’t only be saved for exclusively sleep. Picking wood-based essential oils is a great and easy way to help calm, restore, and slow down those racing thoughts).
  4. Put away all devices for at least 16 minutes and just think. Acknowledge that you feel rushed or overwhelmed. Perhaps admit that how you’ve been surviving but not exactly thriving. Then think of what you really want and what truly makes you feel alive. Be still. Rewire those pathways in the brain.

x Alli

Image by Choe Minjung

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