As I neared sleep, after a lovely day, I had an idea for a ‘joy’ entry that I had to email myself about in case I forgot. This morning I was glad I’d had the presentiment to make a note.
I was thinking about the resets we may undergo in life. How many do we experience, I wonder, on our odyssey? We may grow up in a stable environment, for example, until perhaps we head off to university, often the first big reset in a young life. Or perhaps we have a gap year after high school and wander the world. Maybe we become apprenticed, learn a trade, but whatever we do, that transition from the comfortable known into the frightening unknown can be a tumultuous experience.
When you think of it, of course, just entering adolescence is a huge reset; suddenly our bodies are changing and we don’t recognise the person we are anymore. And then there’s the reset, for many of us, of pairing up with a partner to share life together. For better or worse, in sickness and in health, all of that. Our minds must whir through the changing gears until we settle down into the new ambience.
It’s just so, I guess, towards the later years of life: downsizing involves a considerable reset of outlook and perspective, a kind of new way of living and experiencing things. For us, buying Harry Hymer was a conscious reset — we wanted to travel; a bequest from beloved Uncle Ken set us up with the capital; we spent the next five years making Harry our own. But of course, our most recent reset, which we are constantly moving in and out of, back and forth to, is the mini-move to a teeny-tiny bungalow here in the Scottish Borders.
You begin to see that some things stay the same. An appreciation for wild flowers, for example: having been primed by the broad-leaved marsh orchid at the bottom of our Northumberland track, I was ready to pounce on this heath orchid on our village walk. That sensibility is carrying on through into a changed lifestyle. And habits of activity: sorting out the groceries; cleaning the place; dealing with the washing-up. The same things but different, perhaps. Just different enough to clock that we’re undergoing a reset, that we’re doing things differently to what we did in our previous home.
It’s said that we are not the same person, quite literally, that we were even ten years ago. That the cells of our body undergo such profound changes that everything, or nearly everything, is new, or a re-capitulation of an older generation of cells. Our bodies reset themselves, but as we move into senescence it seems the mistakes become more frequent, and the reset becomes more fraught with danger.
So we need to be careful, too, as we go about resetting our lives. We can’t just act with the aplomb of youth any longer. Now we need to think, ponder the various permutations of change, and choose the path a bit more consciously, if we can.
Perhaps the best thing to realise, of all the components involved in a life reset, is that we’ve done it before. It needn’t be scary, it’s just life. Living the reset is its own joy.