I have been cleaning house recently both literally and figuratively. Getting things done. Eliminating those nagging problems. You know the ones. The ones that bother you each and every day but, rather than do something about them, you simply put up with the inconvenience.
I cleaned and rearranged my sock drawer because I could never find the socks I wanted to wear. I re-organized the bike shop and hung the most often used tools so no tool went missing again. I painted my den. This was a big project. A time consuming project. Get this. For 10 years, I have lived with a wall colour I hated. It was too dark. Depressing. Every night I would sit down to relax and my first thought would be “I really dislike the colour of this room!”. And, I built a new gate for the yard. The old one was 30 years old and rotting. Every day for years I would open that gate and say to myself “This gate needs to be replaced!”.
I don’t know what prompted this sudden change. After all, I had been managing for years. But something changed. These are small improvements but collectively, they make a big difference to my day. When I get dressed in the morning, I can quickly and easily find the socks I want to wear. When I get my bike out for my daily commute, I can quickly and easily find the pump and any tool I may need to adjust a cable or tighten a loose bolt. And, when I return in the evening when I see the new gate I say “What a nice looking gate and it swings and latches perfectly!”.
You see what I mean? Instantly, my daily life became easier, more enjoyable and less frustrating. I have made other changes as well. I am more careful who I choose to spend time with. I choose to be with people that enlighten me, people I learn from and, people that make me laugh. Otherwise, I would prefer to be by myself. And, in much the same way I cleaned and organized my sock drawer, I have re-arranged my internal dialog. You know. That inner voice that keeps talking, repeating negative thoughts. Telling you what to do. No. These are my thoughts and, I can chose which ones to listen to and which ones to discard like one of my old and worn socks.
This has been a gradual process, this cleaning and re-arranging. It is as if I am preparing for a change, a big change. A move. A change of life style. I am not certain what that is right now. But I sense it is happening.
I said to my daughter last week that I believe there are 3 distinct stages to life. The first, is finding your way, earning an education and finding meaningful work. This consumes the first 25-30 years of your life. My daughter in currently in this stage. The second stage, is finding a partner, having a family and assuming responsibility for them. This stage consumes the next 25-30 years of your life. And, the final stage, is validating the first 2. It is a time to find meaning in what you have done and, to examine the meaning of life itself. Up until this time, you have been too busy. Busy with a career, a family and other responsibilities. And, this last stage lasts another 25-30 years.
This may be a simplistic view of life. Not everyone fits into each of these stages and, if they do, they may take more or less time in each. And, events may get in the way. Wars for example. Or, catastrophic floods. But I believe these stages are universal regardless of race, religion or politics. Education and working may mean different things to some but they still need a means to make a living to care for their families.
I am in that last stage. And, that is the reason I sense a change, the reason I am cleaning house and, the reason I am shifting gears. I need space and time to reflect. Like never before, I enjoy time alone. I look forward to solo rides. It is my time. Time to clear my head and, time to gain perspective.
You knew this would get back to cycling didn’t you.
Nice work. Nice post. I like how you connecting cleaning and biking and the meaning of life. Cheers! Joe
Thanks. It’s all related.
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I agree, there are three stages to life……but here is my breakdown. Stage 1: when you brag about your age and want to be just a bit older (0-21?). Stage 2: when you gradually go quiet about your age and even try to disguise it (22-60?). Stage 3: when you start bragging about your age again (60+)…….. Even more simplistic than yours!