Each change feels both significant and trivial at the same time.
I turn on the TV to see someone pointing out where the world needs changing. In comparison, my little efforts to re-group and re-invigorate at such a personal and singularly-individual level seem trivial. But I cannot deny to myself how significant these personal changes feel.
It is a paradox.
I read, somewhere, that the process of solving the small problems – the thinking through, the exploration, the trial and error – lays foundational patterns that are useful when faced with bigger issues. The small problems prepare us; it’s practice.
However, to some, preparation is procrastination by another name. This I noticed years ago when I felt compelled to tidy my small flat before doing anything creative. Everything I could see from the work area had to look organised. One day, I got fed up with rarely getting to the creative bit and decided I would create, regardless. It was a change of habit that served me well in years to come when essays were due and took priority.
A debate on the radio reminded me that individuals must change if society is to change. Little comfort when all I’m changing is the disorganised state of my home.
In pondering my paradox, I remind myself that this Year of Liveability is intended to be more than just sorting shelves and re-organising rooms … and then I remind myself that Liveability cannot be more than that while I’m weighed down by the unintended consequences of devoting years to working while studying and studying while working. This is more than just doing the washing up before I pick up pen and paper.
I’ve decided that the initial focus is the correct focus, and perhaps that’s why it feels significant. I am making progress but I know it’s not the end game.
Yet, there’s something else.
This year, the process is different to previous resolutions. Previously, it was a “learn and apply” style of adopting new habits. This year, the process is more evaluative. Extremely interesting is the way this evaluative thinking is not confining itself to shelves and rooms. There’s been an increase in the number of times I tell myself “You don’t need …”.
This isn’t part of the sorting process. There hasn’t been much thrown away yet. Instead, there’s a shift in how much I acquire, and not just the three-dimensional stuff that sits around the house.
This evaluative thinking is turning up at the fridge door, in the supermarket aisle and at the shop counter.
It’s also turning up in my emotional responses: “You don’t need to worry about that.” “You don’t need to react to that.” “You don’t need to debrief about that.”
It’s quite liberating; very satisfying; liveable.
Although, I did buy a magazine today, but that’s OK because it’s about the human brain and there’s a few articles on creativity in it … !!!