On my way into work this morning as I was stuck in traffic yet again, I tried to detach my thoughts from my self and view my existence in an analytical rather than an emotional way. Lately I have been pretty tired and feeling a bit restless and emotionally drained, like I need to make some changes and I think I am starting to understand why that is….
I live a superficial life. Not in the sense of valuing material things necessarily, but in the sense that much of my living is consumed by matters on a purely surface level. I worry about the surface details of my life such as the state of my hair, my clothes, my skin and my body shape. I worry so much about how the surface details of my life are perceived by other people. What will they think when they hear my accent? What will they think about my job, about the area in which I live or my house? What do other people see when they see me?
When they see me. When they evaluate me at that surface level.
So much of life in the modern world seems limited to the surface. We try to change our outer appearance as though that is the most important part of ourselves and when we meet new people we ask them what job they have, where they live or other suitably superficial questions. We use social media platforms to present the superficial highlights of our lives to people that we only often know on a superficial level. We gloss over the reality of our lives cosmetically and present a polished, fake surface to the rest of the world. I wonder why that is? Why we don’t push beyond the superficial to explore what it is that we really want and why we want it.
When we lived in the UK, I was sure than I would be happier if we moved to New Zealand. Now we are here, I find myself wondering if I would be happier if we were to move to Australia, Italy, Canada or even back to the UK. My yearning for happiness and a more meaningful life has brought our family to the other side of the world, another part of the earth’s surface and still I have that same feeling that there is something missing.
In the car this morning I realised that maybe instead of focusing on the surface and the superficial, I need to put more emphasis on going deeper. What is it that I really want? What is it that I really think and feel? What is it that I believe?
I am over half way to being 70 years old and if I am blessed enough to survive that long, I want to look back and feel that I have led a life of richness – that I have lived the breadth of my life and the depth of my life rather than just living the length of it, only touching the surface. I need to start going deeper, moving beyond the surface of my thoughts and exploring the world and my place in it on a deeper level. It’s hard when we are so conditioned to spend so much of our time living on the surface but I am willing to give it my best try.