What a beautiful sunny day it was! With a few of our nephews in town it was the perfect weather for heading out on the pontoon. So much sun, many laughs, tons of outdoor time. Perfect! While it seems like the weather has worked out a lot for us this year today was another one to be thankful for.
While out on the water I read while the boys played. I finished reading Essentialism for the umpteenth time. Of all the times I’ve read it I don’t know that I’ve taken my time to read it this in depth. It seems like I’ve gotten so much more out of it this time than in the past. I’ve read a lot of other books since the last time I went through it. Since the last time I’ve read it a lot has changed both personally and globally. Reading this time through a lens polished with new thoughts was quite enlightening.
I’m finding some very common themes across the books I’ve been reading lately. One of the core concepts in almost all of them is stripping away the extemporaneous in favor of living simply. This has really struck a chord as I’m finding just how difficult it can be to live simply. I don’t just mean get rid of worldly possessions and whatnot, but all of the extra “stuff” going on in our lives at any given time. The projects or meetings at work that don’t truly move the dial. The attention focused on non-productive things like surfing the web and social media. Everywhere I turn there’s something else vying for my attention, time, energy, and resources. Which leads to the next common theme…
Actively choosing how to live. Each moment of each day we may not control the circumstances around us, but we all have something that can never be taken from us… Choosing how we live. Our attitudes, thought processes, and perspectives are up to us to choose. Similarly, it is up to us to choose where and how we spend our attention, time, energy, and resources. By not actively choosing we are allowing someone else to choose for us. This book and the others before it remind me that it is up to me to actively choose how to live my life.
Another thought that permeates is remembering that I am finite and I will not live forever. I had a wonderful conversation with a friend about this topic recently. In the past I’ve written about my occasional trips to a cemetery to remind me that I will die. This isn’t a cold or dark thought, rather it’s one that leads to great joy. When remembering that there is an end I am reminded to live in the present and enjoy the life I have. If I don’t take time to remember that it is so easy to waste so much time. In this reading of the book there were so many reminders that I need to stay present in the moment and focus on what is truly important to me in life. To suck all the marrow form the bones of this life.
Whew! I wasn’t planning on going quite this deep tonight, funny how sometimes my daily blogging works as a release valve for my brain.
Here’s the cliff notes version. I’m thankful for the beautiful weather we had today as it helped make some wonderful memories on the water. I’m thankful for re-reading Essentialism slowly and deliberately as I got even more out of it than in past readings. I’m also grateful for all of the books, articles, podcasts, and life I’ve lived in the past year or so that continues to help shape me. The gap between who I am and who I should be is still more expansive than I’d like, but each day I continue to focus, think, and live in the present I can close the gap inch by inch. Slow but consistent progress.