Closed minds sap our souls

The Weekend Australian - Life - - LIFE - RUTH OSTROW @OstrowRuth

A friend said some­thing the other day that would res­onate with many of us. “I just feel as time goes on that my life is get­ting smaller.”

She went on to ex­plain that she felt the world had con­tracted. She was no longer fly­ing around hav­ing ad­ven­tures like she did when she was younger. Trav­el­ling was ex­pen­sive and tir­ing with kids in­volved.

She was no longer at the height of her ca­reer, feel­ing the weight of be­ing left be­hind by new tech­nol­ogy and mul­ti­taskers.

She said she’d stopped go­ing out at nights. This was a big one for her; a lover of bands and mu­sic fes­ti­vals, she would be danc­ing the night away.

But her hus­band pre­ferred TV and she said his lethargy rubbed off on her.

“I won­der if it’s his fault my world has got­ten smaller … if he wanted to go out and do more things … then maybe I would.”

I spec­u­lated that per­haps it was that ex­pec­ta­tion of things to come that made life seem big? Or per­haps just the free­dom.

My life is big at times, some­times medium. Some­times small. I know that when I lived in Man­hat­tan it seemed very big. When I lived in Is­rael as a jour­nal­ist it was big. Some lovers made life big. When I gave birth and moved to By­ron Bay, the new world seemed big, even in a small com­mu­nity. Hav­ing a child was a new ad­ven­ture, too. Now life does seems smaller. I think our world seems big when things are fresh, stim­u­lat­ing and chal­leng­ing. New peo­ple drove me for­ward, do­ing new things. Go­ing back to uni a few years ago made the world seem big. New in­tel­lec­tual moun­tains to climb.

Things seem small when we are not stim­u­lated. And per­haps it’s true. Bor­ing mar­riages; bad sex; in­dif­fer­ent chil­dren; bor­ing ca­reers, even hob­bies and the same friends can make things seem con­tracted.

It’s im­por­tant to look reg­u­larly at what is a big life to each of us. Ad­ven­ture? Money? Rich­ness of re­la­tion­ships? Fam­ily? Fame? Great sex? Travel? A soul­mate?

What we all need is a nour­ish­ing life. Not by other peo­ple’s stan­dards or in com­pe­ti­tion with the fas­ci­nat­ing glit­terati. We’ve seen too many peo­ple we ad­mire die young as a re­sult of addictions re­lated to fear, or their own cre­ative con­trac­tions, loss of fame or beauty. Many seem bored with the same A-list par­ties.

But it’s big if we open new doors and stim­u­late our­selves con­stantly with fresh peo­ple and ideas re­gard­less of fi­nances or re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Closed doors are in our head.

The world hasn’t grown small. Op­por­tu­ni­ties haven’t al­ways dried up. Of­ten it’s we who have.

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