How Do You Reboot Your Life?
We are deep into the season of ice cream cones and fireflies! But, I confess, as unpopular a sentiment as it may be, sometime after July 4th we hit the patch of summer that begins to feel like a long slog to me. Vacation is far off in the distance, the air-conditioner is working overtime. It is, I imagine, how most people feel on January 3rd or February 15th. The air feels still; we’re treading water.
It’s not necessarily a seasonally-related thing, it’s a heart-centered thing, but for me, it always seems to hit in summer. Without warning or reason, life gets a heavy feeling. And it can be especially maddening when everything seems just fine. Life looks the same––hell, with the blue skies and lush geraniums and fresh herbs on the plate, it looks better than ever––but somehow it feels different.
When there’s not a big problem to contend with, I actually take a little comfort in knowing that something small might set me right again, like a yoga class or a frozen yogurt date with a friend. In fact, the obvious struck me the other day: if life feels out of balance, I’m probably not getting enough of what really sustains me and brings real, meaningful pleasure to life. It seems like a big duh, but it’s a lesson I have to learn again and again.
But sometimes you crave more than just a little reminder of what you care about. You crave a reboot, a clean slate, a pressing of the restart button. And despite being someone who loves familiarity and routine––the ritual of coffee in the morning and pulling the sheets back at night––the desire for a fresh start sweeps in in a way that surprises me.
The craving for neat, tidy newness must in some way be a reaction to life’s messiness. When we are overwhelmed with the reality of what is––the constant email flow, the what’s for dinner question, the pile of mail on the desk––the prospect of what could be is enormously appealing. A fresh start, for sure, would make things more manageable, more organized, happier, lovelier. That’s the thing about the unknown: we always think it could be better.
I set out here today wanting to ask about the healthy, productive ways we can approximate a fresh start in the day-to-day. I wanted to ask how you give yourself that clear, clean sense of a new beginning when you’re feeling stuck. And I still want to know, for sure. But it occurs to me that a question as worthy of asking is how to make peace with the untied ends of the everyday, the discomfort of a bad mood or a bad day, the ebb and flow of our moods and our progress, and the broken asymmetry of what it means to be alive and human.