Mind like water

People often ask me how I ended up in Los Angeles – I started life in a town about 30 minutes south east of London, England. I spent most of my life there, aside from a year away at journalism college, before returning to find a job. Finding a job proved fruitless – the problem was no one would hire me without experience but to get experience… I am sure you can figure out the rest. I struggled with depression because of this for most of my mid 20s feeling like a failure until one day while working as a temporary secretary for a law firm, I found a job writing about cool products for a web site. To cut a long story short I applied, got it and as an indirect result of that decision I now live in America doing a completely different kind of job!

Isn’t it strange how life can lead you to weird places you never thought in a million years you would end up? I still believe you have to open those paths up for yourself after all if I hadn’t applied for the job I could still be in my home town working at the big insurance company there (I should remember that when I am bitching about my job). I did think that moving to America would make me happy – boy, was I wrong! It’s a tremendous stress and strain to leave everyone you know and love 5000 miles behind to change your life completely. I think unless you actually do it, and do it for a substantial period of time – more than a year, its impossible to fully understand how that deeply affects you.

I am going to go all cheesy on you now for a moment. You know how some people have quotes they swear by well, during this whole big change of moving and turning 30, I couldn’t get “Happiness is a journey not a destination” by Father Alfred D’Souza out of my head. Full text is:

“For a long time is seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life.
But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first,
some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid.
At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness.
Happiness is the way.
So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”

I didn’t really get it till one day it just clicked. I think after I turned 30, I learned to accept that I was dependent on people in a strange city /country – a big deal for someone who had been so independent their entire life – and I think, I just simply mellowed with age. There is something about being 30 that is much more peaceful than being 20 something. I stopped being so uptight about things – realising that it wasn’t some rush across the river to happiness – that it wasn’t a case of when I achieved “X” I would be truly happy.

I have been in America five years now, I am independent once again and I am very happy here. These days my ‘new’ quote is “mind like water” which is taken from Taoism – the nearest thing to religion I think I believe in these days – and has been adopted by a guy called Dave Allen who wrote a cult hit book called Getting Things Done. The basic principles of GTD is that a person needs to move tasks out of the mind by recording them somewhere. That way, the mind is freed from the job of remembering everything that needs to be done, and can concentrate on actually performing those tasks. It’s actually not as complex as it sounds and millions of people have successfully adopted his life changing methods.

I kind of strayed off topic there but anyway.. that’s where I am at 33. I am trying to adopt GTD in order to conqueror my fear of completing my projects but it’s all OK cause I already know I wont be happier when I have done them. 😉

Not Goth, 33, Redondo Beach, California, USA