Your mind and your body are your home - build them accordingly.
The best feeling in the world.
Under constant maintenance.
The end game.
The hardest feat.
Happiness is a struggle.
Until it’s not.
Until one day you wake up completely alone, and completely content. This day usually arrives in the summertime when you’re sporting a little more color on your skin, amongst your garden, and in your world.
I’ve been here.
Everything feels good. All that time convincing yourself that you’re worth the decadent spread that life has served you has paid off - and you feast on the happiness.
Today you actually choose to have a smoothie with spinach in it, because you want to fuel your body.
You actually choose to go outside and walk/run/crawl/bike, because you want this body to carry you into another morning like this.
And the best part? You keep up this cycle for a while - a fleeting week, a blissful month, maybe even a whole damn year. Finally, happiness is easy.
Until it’s not.
Until one day you wake up completely alone, choking at potential’s hands around your neck. These hands are callused from working so hard to get you where you were.
Then you realize they’re your own hands. Turning on you.
You realize that they’re not your hands at all.
It’s your brain. Turning on you.
Days like this don’t run on schedule. Most of the time you can’t even see them coming - but sometimes you do. Like when you find yourself sobbing over an episode of Glee that you don’t actually relate to at all. Or when you’ve been listening to political podcasts for a month straight as you attempt sleep, just to avoid your own thoughts.
Or maybe it’s just when your brain decides to test you.
But we’re all products of the education system, and if there’s one thing we’re used to - it’s tests.
I’m not a teacher, magician, therapist, or qualified anything - but I am human. And that’s one thing we’ve all got in common (except you, aliens who’re currently being held captive at Area 51.)
You don’t have to trust me. I don’t even care if you listen to me. But I’ve been around the bend, so let me give you the one piece of advice that might help you pass this test.
My two most pertinent struggles have been the not-so-civil war between my mind & my body - battled from bloodshed to surrender.
But a lesson from the front line:
In a war, no one really wins. You can’t make a home on the battlefield. So raise the white flag, and rebuild.
Your mind and your body are your home.
You have to live in them.
You can’t escape them.
Make them a happy home.
Your mind is the foundation of your home.
As any [completely non-professional] builder knows, construction doesn’t start at the paint-job or the landscaping - it starts with the foundations.
Foundations need to be strong. Everything rests on them. They must endure the pressure of holding it all together - withstanding even the toughest of conditions. So let’s spend a bit of time getting them right.
Your foundations are comprised of a combination of different materials and structures - without this mix, it’d be like sitting on a chair with one leg.
There’s concrete, tough as anything. But like just like everything in this world, it needs time to breathe. In fact, poured concrete establishes about half of its total strength after being left for a week. And sometimes it doesn’t reach full strength for 60 days. You see? Strength takes time, so you need to be patient with it.
Concrete’s tough, but it’s not very flexible. That’s where the steel comes in. Every well built foundation needs reinforcement - and steel will allow your sturdy structure to have a bit of give. You need this, because you never know what twists and turns the earth is gonna throw at you. Now your home can move with the turbulence and unpredictability that is life.
And your foundation must be weatherproof. No home is limited to only sunny days, there’s always a storm brewing somewhere. To ensure the impending rain isn’t going to dampen your foundation, you need to make it water resistant - think of this material as a protective barrier, to prevent punctures or tears.
So now your foundation is strong, because it’s had time to breath. It’s flexible enough to move with the motions - it can reach tipping point, but it won’t collapse. And your foundation is resistant to the even toughest of storms, emerging only with a rainbow and minimal tears.
Your body is the structure of your home.
The most pivotal aspect of your structure is that it’s safe.
You’ll put walls in place to keep out the bad stuff — but make sure you scattered them withwindows to let in the all the light.
You’ll put locks on the doors to keep out the bad guys — but make sure all the good ones have a key.
You’ll put a roof on to keep out the bad weather — but steer clear of glass ceilings - they’re so last century.
Now that your foundations are strong, and your structure is safe - you get to decorate.
At this point in the process, you’re starting to feel pretty house-proud. After all this hard work, you’re finally starting to see its value — and you’re ready for others to see what you’ve built.
You can paint your home whatever color you like — that’s what the world gets to see.
You can design the interior however you like — that’s what the people you let inside get to see.
And you can change any of these designs whenever and however you like — renovating is a necessary part of maintaining a happy home.
Finally, the only way you’re going to get through any of this complex building stuff is by enlisting a loyal crew to help you.
Building a happy home is long process, so you need to select this team wisely. Gather a group of reliable, strong, and thoughtful people to assist you.
Equip them with the tools they need to withstand the inevitable breakages along the way. Hard hats and something to plaster up any cracks that might start to appear are essential.
Some of your crew will be your builders, and some of them are going to be your co-planners, helping you make the tough calls. Yes they’ll support your decisions, but their top priority is to tell you when your ideas are dangerous, stupid, or won’t meet compliance rules.
Best of all, your team is going to throw you the best housewarming party when all of this is over.
And now here you are.
You laid out strong foundations.
Those foundations let you create a safe structure.
You valued that structure enough to decorate it beautifully inside and out.
And you’re ready to open up the door and let people in.
But no home is full-proof. Sometimes the earth beneath it shakes a little too much, or a pipe bursts under pressure.
And when your walls start to crumble, and cracks appear in your foundation, you will rebuild.
Because now you know how to.
Banner Image by Logan Zillmer.