Some years ago, I decided to get off the train.
The "train," in this case, was the train of a chaotic life; the train of constant running around in no particular direction, but mainly in pursuit of something other people called "success." And maybe it was something I'd managed to persuade myself was "success."
Of course, this is a very simplistic way of stating what really happened.
I should also add that I didn't just "get off," all of a sudden... it was a long and rather deliberate process. And I'm onlt just now starting to clean up the final "bits."
I got to thinking about this, today, as I wandered on the beach for about three hours. It was a rather brisk late autumn day, and it suddenly occurred to me that it would have been unthinkable-- just five years ago-- that I would take three hours to do anything such as walk on a beach.
I was "warned" about getting off the chaos train. Most of the warnings took the form of assurances that I would soon "grow bored," and "regret" my decision. I actually lost some friends, over that. That, in turn, got me to contemplating how often our ostensible friends are drawn to what we DO or HAVE, rather than to who we ARE.
Going a bit further down the rabbit hole, I came to realize that change-- "real" change-- of our paradigms often means more than what immediately meets the eye. Taking the left fork in the road, rather than the right (which we have always taken in the past) doesn't just mean that we get to see new scenery... it also means that a whole series of things that normally transpire as a result of our going right... no longer happen.
Everything in life is interconnected. I got off the chaos train (slowly, gradually, almost completely off, now), and EVERYthing in my life changed... not just my stress level. My life, my friends, my work, my lifestyle, my living quarters... even my primary relationship. I no longer "go" to work, I walk on the beach and play around with my hobbies. I can DO that, because my life costs less to live. And I feel supported in that, because the people in my life are connected to ME, not to my "doings" and "havings." And I am no longer connected to a sense of needing to "prove myself" to others.
All in all, it is change for the better. In fact... there's very little of the "old me" that I actually miss. And only one more puzzle piece to put in place, before I completely wave goodbye to the train.
REAL change is not easy... and it often takes a long time, and involves the discovery that "one thing leads to another," and the original intent to do ONE thing ("reduce stress," for example) differently may well lead to a wholesale personal reinvention.