We went on vacation this past week. Mostly isolated, on a beach, letting ourselves become bored and letting ourselves sit on the sand and play in the water. It was lovely.
Lots of time reading and reflecting and letting my mind wander. In my “normal” life, I can’t let my mind just wander; thoughts have to have a purpose in “normal” life. But not on vacation. On vacation, you don’t read things or think things because you have to–you read things and think about things because you want to.
Now that we’re back home, there’s still that vacation veneer on things… a sense of refreshment and possibility. A sense that life isn’t about the burdens of arbitrary obligation, but an extension of desire.
We’re just now getting back into “normal” life here at home, but I’m resisting that urge to do things because I have to–I’m trying to keep that sense of perfect wanting. Laundry, making the bed, surely–but not because I have to. Grocery shopping–because it’s what I want to do.
It feels like beginning again. Which, if you’re like me, you do all the time.
I begin again so often I begin again.
– Gertrude Stein
We want new beginnings so much because they don’t truly exist–not really. In each new moment, we bring the experiences and baggage of our past with us. We wish that being a different person is somehow possible–new habits, new desires, a new sense of purpose.
But we’re still the same person. We’ve not truly begun again. We’re still mid-stream in our lives. We’re still trying our hardest to live a good life, do good work, and be nice, because maybe yesterday we weren’t as good or nice as we could have been.
Just because “new beginnings” aren’t real doesn’t mean we shouldn’t yearn for them.
It’s good to have that “beginning again” feeling, even if it’s not truly a “new beginning.” To come back from a moment spent away from the stress of arbitrary obligation, when you feel like anything is possible–even those things that, just a week ago, seemed like unfair burdens. What was overwhelming just a short time ago is now an adventure. That’s special.
You’re not a new person. Just the same person with a calmer, more forgiving perspective.