When the need to simplify brings a moment of clarity

We all experience times when we can’t see the wood for the trees. We commit to something – maybe a hobby or an activity like volunteering – then find ourselves spinning on a metaphorical hamster wheel, as we try to keep everything going.

When we have paid employment, home-making or childcare commitments (or all of these!) these compelling pastimes, on top of our day-to-day lives, can often provide a foil to the stresses of daily routine. However, what happens if that extra commitment becomes too much?

Ali Davies (@ali_davies) tweeted, “Being constantly busy is to life what junk food is to health.” How does this feel to you? Do you recognise yourself in this? You may be doing something wonderful but if it detracts from other areas of your life, in the way that junk food has a negative impact on the body, you may want to rethink.

It wouldn’t  be right to be able to walk away from everything on a whim. Sometimes, though, the desire to simplify can bring a moment of clarity. For me, a week without obligations brought new insights into an area of my life to which I had hitherto committed many years of my life. I returned having made a decision to give up a hobby that had been a a big part of my life. But I was clear that this is what I needed to do. Stepping down from a group to which I had belonged for many years (a ladies chorus) was sad, but it was the right thing to do.

If a commitment in your life is something than no longer adds value or that makes you feel obligated, you have a choice. You can decide. It doesn’t have to be forever, but it can be the right thing – right now. Walking away is a brave decision but it may be just what you need.

Postscript: 24 July 2016

When I chanced upon an article by India Knight in ‘The Times’ whilst waiting for a cup of coffee today, I knew I’d done the right thing. Its title was How to leave: the importance of a good exit. As I read the piece, a song began to play. It was ‘Dream a little Dream’, the song that had been my favourite as a member of the chorus and one of the very first I had heard the group perform almost 15 years before. Maybe it was a  coincidence; maybe not. I had made my exit; I hope it was a good one.

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