“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” – Anne Lamott Ye
A couple of days ago, I had a computer problem and could not sign out for some reason. A colleague told me to just, “hit CTLR+ALT+DET and reset because this always works”. Then, a good friend made a fascinating remark which then triggered me to write this article. She and her husband were in the process of selling their house in order to pay off some debt. When I asked her how they came to that decision, she said to me, “We have decided to hit reset on our life. For too long we have overextended ourselves financially, and it is time to take whatever steps are necessary to start fresh. We just put our house on the market and began living within a tighter budget. I don’t know what we were thinking living like that for so long, but it is time to hit reset on our lives.”
I kind of like this phrase: “We have decided to hit reset on our lives.” I hit reset on my life many times.
In speaking with my friend, I was reminded of my own life. In many ways, I hit reset when I discovered a more minimalistic lifestyle. I went back to the beginning, challenging my consumption, and the many unhealthy habits that had become present in my life. Of course, not every life is in need of a full reset. And I am smart enough to know that resetting a life is not the same as restarting a computer. I know I cannot just delete past memories, experiences, injuries, or every unenjoyable responsibility in my life. Resetting the direction requires more than a few minutes of downtime.
Autumn started and we are nearing (or longing?) the end of 2020; the time of year when I naturally assess the trajectory of my life and what direction I am heading. There is truth in the reality that I am in control of my life and I am responsible for the experiences of living. If I do not like the direction I am heading, I alone can choose a new path. Whenever I have become overburdened in my schedule, I alone can hit reset on my life. Even if some of my relationships have turned unhealthy, there is a lot I can do to foster an environment for change. Even this all might be a bit more difficult with this f***ing pandemic. Believe me, I am so tired of it all. Some changes require not just re-establishing a mindset, but also implementing the hard work of making it a reality. Like a divorce. Sometimes these changes require conversations with a partner, an “enemy”, a loved one who may or may not be thinking about the same things. But again, anything is possible.
Things I do these days are: I look hard at my spending. With this Covidiot-uncertainty, rethinking my finances is part of a necessary reset for me. I am rather careful to invest in anything big such as a car, a house, and such. But I will always invest in my health and studies. We just never know and cannot plan anything these days. I also consider my time commitments. My life is pretty stressful and hurried at points. I rush from school-drop-off to work, work 8-hours just to rush back quickly to pick up my son. Then the afternoon-shift and the entertainment programs start. No need to rush from one activity to another, but this is our daily routine. Sometimes, to chill and relax, we go straight home just to read on the couch.
There is great progress to be made in life when I look deeper than my actions and begin checking the motivation behind them. Usually, when I don’t keep my motivations in check, unhealthy ones begin to emerge such as building my own selfish kingdom. The key for me is to check the internal motivations that may have moved me to my current situation.
I hit reset and evaluate my relationships. People are not things and choosing which relationships to keep and which to remove is not as simple as decluttering clothes in my closet. There are some relationships where both parties benefit and there are some relationships where I benefit. Balance is important I guess. But there also should be some relationships in our lives where we are serving and giving and being the one who loves more. Again, balance is important in this area and I evaluate the current relationship in my life.
I figured resetting my life is going to require more than a one-time decision or evaluation. Many times, it is going to require me to rewire my habits from the ground up. My life and many other lives may be a big mess these days but I always keep in mind that I can hit reset if I need to. So can you.