Many years had passed…
I saw the phrase “Many years had passed, and nothing out of the ordinary happened” in an art exhibition and it caught my attention immediately. The words which seemed so familiar resonated in my head, while the golden wires spiraling out of the written words seemed eager to reach out to me and haunt me if I dared to look away.
Ever since I was a little girl, my father always told me a quote from Johann Wofgang von Goethe: “Don’t let any day pass without reading, seeing or hearing something meaningful”. When he used to come home from work, he often asked me: “Did you read, see or hear anything meaningful today?” And I proudly answered every time: “Yes, I saw some great cartoons today!” He chuckled every time and walked on by amused.
But the years passed, and this phrase resonated more and more in my head. The cartoons answer was not a viable one anymore and I started to think every day about the meaning and purpose behind each activity, each day and then each year. I gave myself a hard time about what was worth and not worth doing and I always calculated my time and efforts in order to get the maximum amount of meaningfulness from the activities I engaged myself in. Even the simple act of socializing had to be a significant and substantial one in order to grab my attention. I chose friends not according on how I felt around them, but on what I could learn from them. I felt the guilt after every encounter where meaningful topics were not discussed and I pushed myself to work harder and make up for the “lost” time.
Little by little, I completely forgot how to enjoy life and every day became a “to do” list. I get startled when people notice how often I use the verb “have to” or the phrase “so I can cross it off my list”. The pressure, the guilt and the will to do something meaningful is so powerful, that I often forget that I’m in fact the Master Puppeteer who conceives these lists and expects to have them done.
The last 4 years have been one of the most intense and tumultuous years of my life. As each year passed, I looked at this phrase: “Many years had passed, and nothing out of the ordinary happened”, and I was happy to say at the end of each year: “Well, I managed to make this year unordinary and to do a lot of meaningful things!”
So, every New Year’s Eve I studiously sat at my desk and conceived a pile of things to do. My lists were becoming more and more ambitious and the pressure was becoming bigger and bigger. At the end of 2014, I was exhausted. I saw the last days of 2014 going by in slow motion, and I could not pull myself together and do a “to do” list for 2015. Maybe I was afraid of what I would write… maybe I was afraid of failing to accomplishing it… Or maybe, I gave myself the permission for the first time not to have a list and enter a new year without a set plan.
If I do have to make a resolution for 2015, it would be to have an ordinary year, without any pressure, struggles and lists, without any particular meaning except that of living…
A tired Pink Elephant wishes you a Happy 2015! What are your resolutions for this year? Not that you have to have any! 😉
Artist credits: Fred Eerdekens
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