I’ve called time.
At the tender or ripe age of 60, this is it. Enough.
There is huge freedom in being a quitter.
I’ve given up.
I’ve let go.
To quit in today’s world usually has a negative connotation. That’s interesting. A quitter who gives up is often seen as a failure.
But the very word quit comes from two great concepts; freedom and silence.
Middle English (in the sense ‘set free’): from Old French quiter (verb), quite (adjective), from Latin quietus, past participle of quiescere ‘be still’, from quies ‘quiet’.
It is time to unravel all that I have thought was important over the past few decades, because most of it wasn’t.
And I think as a species, we humans have been overthinking our importance and shaping the world to our own detriment. That is why I am quitting, giving up, letting go and surrendering.
Phew, it does feel a great relief.
I have been so attached to getting it all right for so long. Trying to solve every freakin’ problem with my intellect. How arrogant is that? But most of us do it. We think if we nut everything out, we can solve any problem. Well, who decided whatever it was, was a problem in the first place!
So to coin a hugely overused cliché, what is the roadmap?
Well for a start there are two very colonizing, limiting words.
We would well do without them. They have so limited our horizons, the ways we navigate. Yeah I get they were designed to make it easier to get around, and in a certain time that was probably a good idea, as to navigate rugged terrain limited our movement and access to opportunities. But at what cost? Now the road rules and negates so many other ways of navigating our world, that are usually far more harmonious with other species and the natural world. Bugger the road.
Maps started out to make life easier, didn’t they? But maps have way out lived their usefulness after centuries of use to dominate, separate, colonise, divide, own, rule. You get my point. And anyway, there’s GPS.
So goodbye road, goodbye map.
I don’t want a roadmap for the future.
What I do want is to quit, to find freedom, quiet and silence.
The world is already going through so much crazy change, any map or any road you might have is going to be obsolete the moment you look at it.
The massive challenges we face, environmentally and socially have been on the cards for many many years.
The thing was, when people started to talk about the future and the opportunities and risks of globalization, the use of resources and the wicked problem or enormous potential of developing the developed, developing and under developed world, it all became an ideological or intellectual debate.
Debate. Now there is another outdated concept. Oh dear, and that has been the supposed basis of democracy in the world, debate. I am really not sure whether ‘debate’ is a useful process at all. It’s an adversarial clashing of egos more than anything else, and has the world always ended up a better place in the hands of those who won a debate?
So we were all getting it wrong trying to fix everything with our heads, our logic. So arrogant.
We had taught ourselves to distrust, disown and discredit our intuition. It was witchcraft, it was ropey, soft, vague, dangerous, woolly, feminine, dangerous, unproven, hugely risky.
Well was it, is it?
My intuition told me a long long time ago that we needed to live more harmoniously with each other and with nature. I didn’t have the data, and to be honest, quantitative data has never really been my thing. But I could sense we were pushing it. Stuff was going to wear out. Surely life on this planet has always been about cause and effect. You use things and people up too much, and things will bounce back. There will be an effect, there will be an impact, and the force may well be far greater than you thought.
So here we are. Pandemics. Storms. Busted infrastructure. Stuff running out. People not happy.
My aim is to do far far less.
I quit work. I quit recreation. I quit consuming.
Undoubtedly I will do a little of all these things.
But I will DO far far less, and aim to BE far far more.
Much more meditation every day.
Teaching myself to think less and less and less.
Teaching myself to reflect more and more and more.
Teaching myself to love more and more and more.
Teaching myself to practice Festina Lente, to hasten slowly.
To be in balance with action and stillness.
That feels good.