I saw a quote float around Facebook, Twitter and the like recently. It said “If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree”. At the time it made me laugh and move on… then I remembered it and thought more closely. It’s true – you are not a tree. You are a human being with a will and a mind and the ability to make the life you want. Of course it’s easier said than done, but if you’d rather not do then you don’t really mind where you are do you?
It took quite a while to realise that moving to the countryside wasn’t just good in terms of cheaper houses and better hiking prospects, but it has actually enabled me to take back control over my life and my mind. This may have eventually happened back down south, but I’m pretty sure that if we hadn’t made the move, and taken control of that one situation, it would have taken a lot longer to reclaim my confidence than it has here.
Not only is my mind my enemy, but it’s my source of power too. Just as it took over me with its irrational anxiety and frustratingly convincing panics, I can take it back and remember that I am in control of what my mind does. Part of that control has come from removing myself from the stresses that seem to form within the M25 as a particularly intense bubble. Waking up every morning and spending 10 seconds to stare out my window is both a luxury and a necessity – it reminds me of the wider picture, and gives just a short pause before the day kicks in. A chance to settle in the now rather than begin the day panicking about the next minutes.
But it’s more than just moving somewhere pretty – it’d be naïve to think that all problems are solved by hills (though that said… I’m sure 90% of them are). It’s about choosing to not get sucked into the panic. Choosing to smile even when I’m scared. Choosing to spend 20minutes on my yoga mat, not on the sofa. And just the act of choosing – of deciding that my life is actually my own – is a powerful thing.
Start small – spend your unpaid lunch hour not at your desk, but eating in a park, or going for a walk. Don’t watch mindless TV rubbish but sit on a swing with a glass of wine at sunset (we actually did this… 100m from our house… it was great). Go for a swim after work. Go for a float after work. Instead of complaining about your day take a deep breath and be glad that day’s over. Choose to take control of your own life, and you may find it improves drastically. It’s your life to live, not someone else’s. Don’t get to 85 realising you’ve been a tree…