Mindful, creative, colourful living.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

The Unpredictable Nature Of Life

Life is unpredictable.

In an attempt to bolster the family finances, driven on by my new sense of mindful living, I have just begun a new spending plan.  It is more of an experiment really. The idea is to stock up with all the essential groceries and not buy any more until we have used everything,  pay all the obligatory bills etc and  stop buying all those daily add-ons (bags of crisps, snacks etc), that we do not really need.  I have also started writing down the cost of things (milk, bread etc), that we might need to buy throughout the month, to see where we can possibly make some savings. I had been congratulating myself on how well the experiment was going when my daughter phoned me from school.

“Dad...,” she said.

 I knew from her voice something was wrong.

“I’ve lost my bus card.”

The first thought to slam into my brain was, ‘How is she going to get home?’ That was quickly followed by ‘Shit! I’ve just loaded that card with 30 journeys. What a flaming waste of money.’

I could feel the frustration building from within. I could have given her a good telling off right there, but she was already upset so what good would that do?  Instead, I paused, took a deep breath, slowed myself down and let the burning heat of irritation pass through, and out of me.

“OK. Here’s what you need to do ...,” I said.

I spoke calmly, explaining how she was to make her way home.

When we finished talking and I hung up the phone, I reflected on what had just happened. Yes, I was, not angry, sort of annoyed at the situation, but I could  easily have let my daughter feel my annoyance by the tone of my voice. She would have felt my displeasure and got more upset herself, which would have made a bad situation worse. I did not overreact, however, and a good outcome ensued.  She got home safely, and that was the main thing.

Since embarking on my journey of mindful living, I have noticed that life does throw up more and more events that I have no control over. Trying to fix or manipulate these happenings to be the way my brain tells me they ‘should’ be is useless. In the case of the bus card, a relatively small event, but a good example, there was nothing I could do. The card was already lost. The event was out of my control. Accepting that, and letting the feelings of frustration flow through me, instead of questioning the event and allowing the frustration to build, enabled me to handle the situation calmly and effectively.

In life, there are things / events I do have power over and other things / events I do not have control over. I have no control over how other people react, I  have no control over the lateness of the bus and  have no control over weather or a million other things. Letting things I have no control over annoy me ends in frustration, anger and resentment and removes whatever peace of mind I have. Acceptance is the key to a free mind.

Naturally, there are other things I do have control over; I can choose what  to put in my body, I can choose what book to read, I can choose not to watch television and I can choose not to let people, places or things take away my peace of mind by making me react to situations I have no control over.

Life is unpredictable. It is how I deal with its unpredictability, and going with the flow of its unpredictable nature that makes life an adventure worth living.

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The spending experiment I mentioned at the start of this post is going well, better than expected actually. Just writing things down helps me make better choices about what to buy, and what not to buy and I have found I question myself about whether or not we / I really need a potential purchase. 

I am going to keep this experiment going for a while. Updates will follow. 

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  1. You have made a lot of New resolutions and I hope you and the family will be able to continue on your new way. Hugs, Valerie

    1. Hi, Valerie. We have made a lots of changes. At the moment we are enjoying them and we are determined to carry on in the same direction.

  2. Inspiring post, let's learn to 'accept' things out of our control and work on the things we can control such as our spending. My girlfriend and I check the weekly supermarket specials to plan our purchases and I am starting to learn some prices too. It is actually fun.

    1. Thank you, Christine. I'm with you. It's fun and exciting to be mindful of where the pennies are going. Keeping an eye on the spending by not buying stuff we don't need should mean we are able to afford more of what we really want.

  3. You know John, I just copied part of this blog post and am going to print it out and put it on my desk where I can be reminded of it every day. Thank you for your inspiration ♥

    1. Hi, denthe. Thank you. Just knowing that someone got something out of this post makes the effort of writing worthwhile. Life is unpredictable. Going with the flow makes it a lot easier to accept this.