If so, you’re not alone. The isolation and disorientation of the global pandemic have many of us asking, “Is this the life I want to live?”
Personally, I have a hard time picturing what life will be like after things go back to “normal.” I’ll need to relearn some things, like hosting large parties, shaking hands and hugging friends.
There is a quiet many of us have enjoyed during this time, but sometimes that quiet can feel a little empty. Last week a New York Times article put a finger on the feeling, There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing. The article goes on to describe a state of stagnation and aimlessness that is somewhere between thriving and depression. It’s not burnout, but it’s certainly not joy.
The news is good. The news is bad. More of us are vaccinated but many, too many, are refusing the option. The virus is raging in India and they are low on oxygen. People are dying from this virus and from the viruses of hatred and ignorance too. We are a connected planet and are impacted by the suffering around the world.
Yesterday I read a spiritual text and the following phrase caught my eye:
In another New York Times article from last week, Welcome to the YOLO Economy, we hear about workers who are quitting their jobs in search of post-pandemic adventure. Anyone tired of sitting in front of their computer on and off Zoom meetings all day?
I also came across this story, which went viral on LinkedIn, about a British man who is reevaluating his life after having a heart attack. When his symptoms appeared as he was working on a Sunday afternoon, his first reaction was how it would interfere with the work he needed to do. After a week in the hospital, his priorities changed quickly.
“So I had a heart attack…
This is not how I planned my Sunday. It was pretty standard up to 4pm. Morning coffee, a trip to the local country park, a shopping trip and late lunch.
I sat down at my desk at 4pm to prep for this week’s work. And then I couldn’t really breathe. My chest felt constrained. I had what I can only describe as surges in my left arm, my neck, my ears were popping.
I didn’t get a flash of light, my life race through my mind. Instead I had:
- F*ck I needed to meet with my manager tomorrow, this isn’t convenient
- How do I secure the funding for X (work stuff)
- Sh*t I haven’t updated my will
- I hope my wife doesn’t find me dead
I got to the bedroom so I could lie down, and got the attention of my wife who phoned 999.
I’ve since made the following decisions whilst I’ve laid here, on the basis I don’t die:
- I’m not spending all day on zoom anymore
- I’m restructuring my approach to work
- I’m really not going to be putting up with any s#%t at work ever again — life literally is too short
- I’m losing 15 kg
- I want every day to count for something at work else I’m changing my role
- I want to spend more time with my family
And that, so far, is what near death has taught me.”
Do we have to wait until we are facing death before we take a good look at how we’re living? It sure helps, but it’s not necessary. In truth, we are all facing our mortality. We don’t know how long we have to live, but we manage to slip into denial and act as if we have all the time in the world.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, my favorite life planning question is, “Imagine you only have six months to live. You will be healthy for those six months. What will you do and with whom?”
Two years ago, I had the gift of facing my mortality with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. I was fortunate that it was caught early, which is unusual. I now live with a close connection to the truth for us all that our days are numbers. I have very little patience for things that don’t inspire me.
Fortunately, I am inspired by my work, and it continues to evolve. I’ve decided to go to graduate school in the fall to study East-West Psychology which includes global spirituality and indigenous wisdom. I will also be spending most of my summer in a small 1930s cabin on a lake in the mountains that I renovated last year. Summer is short and intense at 7k+ ft. in the mountains and I don’t want to miss a minute of it.
Wishing you a life full of joy and inspiration,