20 Jan Are you carrying rocks for fear of missing out?
I recently took a trip to the local park to take in a beautiful morning and a little exercise. But also I wanted to collect rocks. I’ll come back to the rocks in a moment, but first, let me ask you when was the last time you felt as though you connected to Mother Nature?
It’s so easy, when you’re rushing from lesson to lesson, working on your never-ending homework or travelling to and from extracurricular activities to miss the beauty of the great outdoors. It’s all around us and it’s so calming when you can relax and get in tune with the whispering trees, the tweeting birds and the fluttering butterflies. You should try it sometime!
“Take a walk with Mother Nature. It will nurture your mind, body and soul.”
Starting off light as a feather
My main purpose for wandering around the park was to collect rocks. I started walking with a pace, not yet panting because my bag was light, and I felt as though I had all the time in the world. I was looking for a specific size of rock for a purpose of which I’ll explain later, but as I was pottering around grassy pathways, my mind wandering, I started to pick up several small pebbles. They weren’t exactly what I was after, but I thought they might come in handy if I couldn’t find my ideal rock so I popped them into my bag.
Deviating off track
At some point during my ramble, I have no idea when, I realised that my mind had wandered again – probably a result of breathing in the sweet smelling fresh air and the chirping chorus of the birds. I brought myself back to reality and glanced around. I’d gone off track and was standing in a glorious glade full of stunningly colourful flowers. It was beautiful, but it wasn’t where I wanted to be. I backtracked and found my original path.
As I turned a corner, a woohoo moment hit me! In front of me lay a jackpot of rocky rubble. I bounced over excitedly and started to pack half a dozen rocks into my bag. A couple were too big but I bagged them anyway before moving on to find more rocks.
As I walked my bag was getting heavier. The rocks weighed a tonne and I could have done with offloading a few that I didn’t need – the smaller pebbles and the two that were, if I’m honest, too big. But I thought they might still come in handy for the future so held onto them. The hefty weight was starting to stretch the handles on my bag and they were cutting into my hands. My back also started to twinge a little and I felt hot and bothered. Not only was I feeling the heavy strain of lugging the rocks around, but it was starting to hurt me.
“There isn’t any shame in getting off track, there is only regret when you stay off the track.”
A great metaphor for life
You might be wondering why I’m telling you a story about carrying rocks. Well, it’s a great metaphor for life. Simple.
You start off on a journey and everything is as light as a feather and you feel fabulous because you have a purpose. Then you get sidetracked and start to pick up baggage that you don’t really need but you think it might come in useful somewhere. This adds extra pressure and strain in some areas of your life – both mental and physical pressures – yet you continue on your journey unwittingly (or wittingly) knowing that these pressures can be damaging.
“Temporary setbacks are overshadowed by persistence.”
What unnecessary baggage are you carrying?
Think about this question and my rock story. Take a long look at your life as it stands today. What are you doing, saying or feeling that you don’t really need to be doing, saying or feeling? What would happen if you stopped and offloaded this extra stuff that is weighing you down? You might have a couple of peers that you would rather not have in your life. Maybe you go to an after school class that you don’t really enjoy, but you do it to please your parents. It could just be that you are a people pleaser and you don’t like to let people down so you have a full calendar of outings because you struggle to say no, when all you really want to do is curl up in the privacy of your own room with a good book.
If you got rid of these additional things think how much lighter you would feel. Imagine the extra room you’ve created in your life to do the things that bring you more value and enjoyment.
You’re not alone and everyone falls victim to this, but you’ll need to recognise the signs and make the change. Draw up a list of things that you feel hold you back or drag you back and think about how you can offload them. Unload, repack and carry on.
“When you get rid of excess baggage something amazing happens. You find yourself again.”
Are you carrying rocks for fear of missing out?
An issue that has come to my attention recently through the parents of some teenagers I work with is the dreaded school bag! So many of you have picked up a trait that is no good for you. The problem is this: carrying too many books and utensils in your school bag. Some of you carry up to twenty kilos in your bag every day! And it’s not good for you. Is this you? Stop it today!
I think I’ve worked out why this happens, but please do correct me if you think I’m wrong and share your thoughts with me by commenting at the end of this blog or connecting with me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. I think it’s because, by the very nature of you carrying all your books ,you know you can’t forget one. If they are with you all the time you won’t get a lesson mixed up and you can’t get into trouble for forgetting a book. And if you can’t get into trouble then you won’t feel embarrassed or humiliated in front of your classmates.
I get this. It’s a serious problem to be given negative points if you forget something at school. But this solution (and it’s a choice) is exhausting and physically painful. You could damage your body long-term because of the excess weight put on your muscles and bones. If you get anxious about forgetting things or being made to look a fool in front of people then this is not a sustainable solution. What happens when you get a job and your boss wants to send you away for a few nights, will you take the entire contents of your bedroom and bathroom?
“When you fear missing out, you’re missing the moment.”
Choose a better solution
Carrying rocks as a metaphor and overloaded school bags are just two ways of looking at a problem that many teenagers face. People of all ages and in all stages of life too. If you relate to this concept then you are most likely someone who likes to be in control of a situation and needs to feel certain that what you are doing is right. You will most likely need ‘wise’ or ‘sensational’ fuel to feel in flow with what you’re doing. If you’ve haven’t read my previous blogs or listened to the podcasts then pause your reading here or make a note to pop back to the blog that talks about finding your fuel.
Your natural strengths and gifts lie in planning, attention to detail, and creating a process to measure and monitor what you do. This is good news because, believe it or not, you have the exact skills needed to design a better system not to carry books around everyday! Does this sound like a better solution? Here’s what you need to do.
- Find your school timetable – this will tell you exactly what lessons you have on what days and at what time
- Create a list of what books you will need on each day of the week according to your timetable – colour coordinate, illustrate and use stickers to make things stand out
- Make additional lists if you have alternating lessons on different days or weeks
- Grab a monthly calendar and incorporate your school holidays and bank holidays into your lists – this way you have an overall plan for the entire school year
- Check off your list each night if you need the extra safety net
This is a simple idea, one that should only take a matter of minutes to complete. And you get to stay in control. The best thing about it is that it’ll save you days of worry. And pain relief for your muscles! Give yourself a reward and remember that lugging all your books around every day is actually the lazy way of doing it!
“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”
The joy of collecting rocks
Before I wrap up this blog I did say I’d let you know why I was collecting rocks. I run a youth club in my local village and we were having a rock painting evening. It was great fun so I’d recommend you give it a try to test your creativity. Find a few big pebbles, some acrylic paints, and Google ideas for rock painting designs. You will find tonnes of really cool pictures – quirky images, animals, cool patterns, and written messages.
If you enjoy it, why not paint more than you want for yourself and go and leave them in your village, town or the local park for other people to discover and enjoy. Tracking painted rocks is a thing you know!
Choose the life you want to lead
Here’s to lightening your load – plan to work smarter not harder, have an agile and stress-free week. Bye for now.