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"Every time I find the meaning of life they change it"

Who decided it was ok for January to be an 8 week month?! The end is in sight people.

Now that the madness of the festive season has calmed down, it’s a good time to think about the Meaning part of our CHIME model. Take a moment to reflect on how to make our life meaningful by doing things that give us purpose, to learn from our experiences both good and bad and finally how to ensure that we don’t get too caught up on the hamster wheel and forget about the bigger picture.

By now, most of us (by that I mean myself!) have broken lots of the ambitious New Years resolutions we set for ourselves. January hasn’t been so dry and I’ve not managed to force myself to be an exercise fanatic as I had originally planned. However, that doesn’t mean I’ve failed, it just means that these resolutions weren’t aligned with the things in my life that give me meaning.

In the CHIME model Leamy defines Meaning as: Meaning of experiences, Spirituality, Quality of Life, Meaningful life & social roles, Meaningful life & social goals and rebuilding life. As a little bit of homework I’d like to invite you to take 20 minutes out of your day and note down some thoughts under the above headings, I’ll go first…..

Meaning of experiences : So I think we can all agree that a lot of the experiences we’ve had over the last 2 years have been less than ideal BUT what an opportunity that has been for me to challenge myself and overcome things I never thought possible. Yes my resilience and resourcefulness has taken a bit of a hit but the experiences I’ve had (and I expect most of you have had) have forced me to slow down, look at my life and take care of myself both mentally and physically, 2021 was definitely the most challenging year yet for me but I made it out the other end with new skills and strengths and for that, I am grateful.

Spirituality : This will mean different things for different people and whilst I don’t consider myself to be particularly “spiritual” I am a firm believer in “what’s for you won’t go past you”. Last year in particular there have been more than a few occasions where I have tried so desperately to make something work and been so convinced that it was absolutely the right decision only to lose out on that opportunity (be devastated for a few days and then pick myself up and get going again). Then a few short weeks pass and an even better opportunity comes along which shouldn’t really work out but it does. Think of a time in the last year where you were just in the right place at the right time or things just seemed to work out for the better when you didn’t expect them to.

Quality of life : This may have been compromised for many of us, maybe working from home has been a challenge and your mental fitness has taken a knock as a result but on the flip side of that we’ve had more time than ever to slow down and spend quality time with ourselves and our loved ones. It hasn’t been so easy just to nip round to your parents house or to grab a glass of wine after work with friends. These meetings that we took for granted before now require a bit of planning and commitment, we only make time for them because we really want to rather than out of guilt or convenience. Maybe you’ve had more time to explore and go for walks on sunny days and enjoyed this simplified life where all you had to worry about is what coffee shop was open and where you could actually find your next roll of loo roll! Think of one good habit that’s improved your quality of life, maybe you cook more or spend more time as a family or took up a new hobby. And even if you think your quality of life really has been the pits, things can only get better and we should look forward to that.

Meaningful life & social roles/goals : Maybe you’ve seen first hand how people in your community have been affected in the last few years and it might be important to you to try to help in some way or another. It might have inspired you to volunteer and give support where you can, it may have prompted you to buy a food bank donation when you were at the supermarket. Maybe you’ve donated to a charity. Or maybe you’ve just taken the time to smile and chat to someone that needed it. No matter how big or small the gesture, being kind in social situations makes us feel better, like we’ve done our good deed for the day. In a time where lots of us are just trying to keep going, a warm smile and a friendly face can really make someones day and it didn’t cost you a single thing. Win Win!

Rebuilding life : For me this encompasses all of the headings before. I’ve been thinking about the person I want to be when things get back to normal and thinking about the life that I want to build for myself, then taking small steps or making little changes to become that person. For lots of us it will be a bit of a culture shock getting back to pre-pandemic life but maybe this break in the chain will have given you the breathing space you needed to think about the life you truly want rather than the one you’ve accidentally fallen in to.

Maybe you’ve just read my ramblings and thought "actually I’m very happy with my life and I know what I’m doing and why I’m doing it” and that’s great, I wish it was me! The point of these blogs isn’t to lecture but to spark an open and honest conversation with ourselves on topics that don’t naturally pop up every day.

Anyway, I hope 2022 brings you some meaningful experiences and as always stay safe!

See you in the next one for the final instalment of CHIME where I’ll be scribbling down some thoughts on Empowerment.

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