I’ve been pretty busy lately – working two jobs, saving money for travelling, trying to find a social life somewhere, becoming the ultimate cliché of a struggling writer; altogether forgetting how to switch off and shut down.
During times like these you’re so busy being busy, putting yourself on automatic just to get through the days and do what you need to do, it becomes difficult to remember to do something so natural, so crucial: to remember to think.
In the past year of my life I’ve begun to hold a lot of importance with processing, self-reflection and self-awareness. It sounds so achingly obvious, but actively processing feelings, events and experiences, rather than just letting them whizz past you in a shapeless blur, has provided much clarity and balance in my daily life. Simply remembering and setting aside the time to think and reflect, whether in the bath, or before I go to sleep, on a journey or on a five minute break, in the form of analysis, or even the act of trying to put it into something else – a poem, an imaginary blog post, scribbling it down into a notebook – is incredibly useful.
Asking yourself how do I feel about that? Why did I do that? Or even what do I need to do in the future? is trying to understand yourself better, and to understand who you want to be. It’s not just dissecting your behaviour and pyscho-analysing your thoughts, it’s actively reflecting on the experiences of your life and understanding the opportunities for self-improvement. It’s giving yourself closure and catharsis, and shaping you into a mindful and self-aware human being.
I feel like thoughts can pass through your mind in everyday life, unchecked and uncontrolled. They can control you too, consuming you with worries and anxieties. Reflection is about calmly processing yourself. It’s about actively making time to engage with your thoughts and feelings, and to try and find some sort of balance and wisdom in between what you are, what you think, and what you do.
I’m not really sure whether I’ve completely over-simplified this, or if I’ve made it sound like the most pretentious thing in the world, but either way I’ve somehow managed to write an entire blog post about thinking and if that’s not impressive / over the top, then I don’t know what it is. I see the irony in the fact that I’ve been thinking a lot about thinking, and reflecting on reflection, but I really feel as if it’s been a good thing, anchored me to myself a little more, and I can only find advantage in feeling that little bit more enlightened.