On Carrying On: To Change Course or Keep Calm
How many times have you heard ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ in the last 10 years? It’s become ubiquitous. I recently sat down with a certain sense of resolve. I wanted to dig deeper on ‘purpose’. Perhaps it was in response to Holy Week, which had just passed (Happy Easter everyone!). In either case, I was struck with a question as I contemplated the larger question of ‘purpose’: Why do we ‘carry on’ and when is it time to stop doing so? There is a certain point during which we are all faced with a decision to carry on. I’m not speaking of luggage on an airline here, nor am I speaking of carrion either, though in both senses, there is a connection. I’m talking about the decision that we make to carry on doing what we are doing. In the former sense, this can be compared to riding an airline and deciding what baggage we choose to bring with us on our journeys. In the latter case of actual carrion, the allusion is much more profound. Carrion, dead or decaying meat, is the old us, the pieces of us that have died, and yet we still cling to. You may do this in hopes of somehow restoring it to life or you may simply not even be aware that old self exists. In some cases, you may hold onto that old self, that carrion, as a point of pride: ‘I was once fierce and independent, even though I can’t be now, for whatever reason’. Nonetheless, while both other forms of carry on are certainly apt allusions, the primary definition I’m focusing on is the decision to carry on. What does it mean to keep carrying on? Why do we do it and is it healthy? These are the questions upon which I seek to ponder.
What does it mean to keep carrying on?
Have you ever found yourself in this situation? You wake up. You get the kids, or yourself, ready for school or work. You have or prepare breakfast. You run out and head to work or school to drop the kids off. All the while, you feel a certain stress or pressure on your shoulders and head. You have too much to do! There are too many things happening in a day, a week, or a month. Work has been busy. You have a million things going on. You go home, at some point maybe after you’ve picked the kids up from school and taken them to swimming, or karate, or dance, or baseball practice. You eat dinner (somehow) and then you sit down and go to bed, only to have to do it all over again.
That’s what I mean by ‘Carrying On’. You don’t really have time to not ‘keep going’, much like Dory from Finding Nemo. But carrying on isn’t the goal or purpose in life. There’s so much life to experience. So how do we break that rut? How do we stop having to carry on, and start living the life we want to live?
Why do we carry on and is it healthy?
‘you’re a successful businessperson, you do well in your job. You have good relationships with people. Now here’s this thing that you’ve tried everything. You’ve tried changing your behavior, you’ve tried changing your mindset, you’ve tried altering things and adjusting. And for some reason, there’s a block. And you’ve tried everything. What really is this block is something that we need to uproot.’
It’s worth pointing out that none of us are immune from this mindset. We all get stuck. We all, at some point in our lives, feel like we are just carrying on because we have to. However, it may not be healthy. That’s where therapy and talking about your struggles can help. Our therapist’s job is literally to help you get unstuck and heal so you can continue to be a successful person in life.
I return then to starting point of this blog: that of purpose. Our purpose in life isn’t to simply carry on, but to live life to the fullest. I’m not speaking here of happiness, unhappiness, and joy. Rather, I’m speaking about fulfillment. In the coming weeks, I’ll examine fulfillment more closely. Regardless, if you feel like you’ve been ‘carrying on’ a bit too much lately and, as such, feel a bit stuck, reach out to us today. We’re here to help you through this time.