I’ve been reading a book lately called Renaissance Souls by Margaret Lobenstine, and it’s got me thinking. She uses the term Renaissance Soul to describe a person who has a whole load of passions and interests: a person who isn’t one for the typical 9-5, stuck doing the same the same thing day-in and day-out. There’s more nuance to it than that, but that’s gives you a rough idea. The book is well structured, with a load of exercises throughout to get you thinking practically about your life and focuses. While I haven’t put pen to paper with them yet, like I said, it’s got me thinking. I’ve been acknowledging what parts of myself might be expressing themselves right now, what my focuses in life really are at the moment, and what I want to be doing.
This, among other pondering, has brought me to realize there are a few aspects of me coming to the fore right now that for a long time I didn’t see as a part of me. My desire for things like a decent income, and a good level of physical fitness. Also, my interest in social media and the whole online world. Before, I might have said that worrying about a good income was vain and selfish, and that I was content with what I had. I also side-lined my physical fitness a lot, focusing more on, and prioritizing, my mental health. As for all the online stuff, again I saw it as vain and too self-interested. Now, these are just as much a part of me as anything else, but I think they’re still making friends with those other parts of me. Where does my desire for a decent income sit with my notion that concerning yourself with money is selfish? Or my interest in working online and with social media – how does that align with my view that people who spend so much time online are vapid?
Well, the thing about a lot of these older notions is that they’re incorrect to a degree, and quite limiting. It’s not so much that I have these new attitudes clashing with my old ones; rather, they’re all in flux and constantly being updated. When you aren’t aware of this though, there can be a little unsettling period. For example, the fact that I’ve had such a focus on these ‘newer’ notions is probably because I’ve repressed them for so long and now it’s like they’re playing catch up. Some healthy integration, and putting things back in perspective, is probably what I need.
Yes, I still think that people who are obsessively concerned with making a lot of money – to selfish ends – are selfish, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting a good income to improve your quality of life, and to enable you to give more back to the people around you.
Yes, I still think people who care about how they look on the outside, to the detriment of their mental health, are being quite ignorant – but there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel good on the outside (and in fact that helps your mental health).
Yes, I still think that people who obsess over likes and selfies, and scroll mindlessly through their news-feeds, are quite self-centric – but the online world has such potential to do good, provide for people’s needs, and connect us on an immense level if used appropriately.
Seeing that you don’t need to always fit in to those boxes you’ve put yourself in, and have been put in to, in the past is a very freeing experience – and it opens you up to so much more. So, maybe ask yourself: what boxes have you outgrown? What do you believe about the world now, that you for some reason didn’t let yourself believe in the past? Step out of your box, and leave those old, limiting beliefs and views behind. They served you to a point, but you’re growing, and they have outgrown their usefulness. Winter is a good time for this – going inside, taking stock, and evaluating. Don’t bother waiting until the New Year and then hurriedly deciding ‘oh well I better get on it with that diet’ or ‘I guess this is my time to start that business’ – take your time, and take stock of where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re heading. You have a wealth of potential, just waiting to be tapped in to.