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It’s not in the numbers my love, (I PROMISE!)

Updated: Jan 1

And so here we are again – and before we dive in, let’s pause here, because even THAT is something to celebrate! Heck, we made it into 2024 (not everyone did sadly). You’re alive, you’re breathing and you’re doing ok(ish!) - hurrah!

As another new year rolls around, people are often thinking about changes they want to make in their life. January 1st is what's called a temporal landmark – or in celtic tradition, it’s a ‘thin place’ – a term used for moments of significance, moments that create a before and an after. 

I’m a big fan of riding these waves of transformation (I’ll take all the help I can get, thank you very much) - a birthday, an illness, a big change in circumstance, a new season - hell, even Mondays and early mornings!

But if we’re not mindful and intentional, we can easily set our course in the wrong direction.

We live in a culture that's OBSESSED with measuring everything about ourselves - weight, waist size, calories burned, steps, meditation minutes, moods, popularity, bank balance, heart rate variability – even sleep; leaving us feeling deflated if we ‘fail’ or smug if we hit the target – only to be chased up with anxiety about our ability to maintain or improve. (I feel exhausted just writing that).

The word measure comes from the 14th century word mesuren: to deal out, to divide up.  It makes me think of a shared dish of food being ladled out into separate bowls. When you’re measuring, you’re taking something whole and splitting it apart.

In measuring ourselves, we’re doing the same thing: we’re dividing ourselves into pieces, separating our person. Yes, this can be a useful strategy when peak performance is your most cherished goal. But if you're looking for happiness, look elsewhere.  When we divide ourselves in this way, there’s an inevitable consequence: what we are measuring now must be maximised.

I’ve had times in my life where I’ve hated and bullied myself thin or pushed myself so hard to get to the ‘number’ (take your pick on which one!), that in the end, there was nothing left but exhaustion, resentment and loneliness.

“The truth is, what matters most can’t be measured.”

What gets measured, gets attention. But the truth is, what matters most can’t be measured (please fact check this against your own reality). And everything that matters most cannot be divided up into pieces — your authentic self, love, friendship, creativity, wisdom, generosity, purpose, sense of freedom and aliveness — these are always whole. They can’t be divided, so they can’t be measured. And because they can’t be measured, they can’t be competed for. And because they can’t be competed for, they connect us to one another. And because they connect us to one another, they make us happy.

There are whole industries built around measuring us – the beauty industry, pharmaceutical, diet, media. Damn it, even the wellbeing industry has taken a bit of a dark turn. All of which make BILLIONS of profit each year from our well-intended aspirations for a better life. Now please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying these things aren’t useful – they absolutely have their place in supporting the life we want. We just need to have our eyes wide open and firmly placed on the horizon, where a much more beautiful and important bigger picture awaits us.

I turn 50 next week which I’m genuinely excited about it.  And I’m mindful this is yet another number that apparently determines where I should be in my life – not only with finances, career, romance and family, but also what behaviours, clothes, looks are ‘appropriate’ for a woman of my age. (Sigh. it’s tiring, isn’t it?!)

Truthfully, I’m the oldest and perhaps the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. AND I’m also the free-ist, most content, most real and comfortable in my own skin: I’m the most ME I’ve ever been (weird, but true!). There’s an inner freedom emerging that’s a bit scary and HUGELY liberating!

The industries above are often the first to criticise people of my age, claiming “how sad it is that they’ve let themselves go” (especially for women) - only focused on what it looks like. But nobody is asking, what does it FEEL like – to let your SELF go?  

If you’re going for the numbers the season because it’s speaking to your soul, go with full gumption my friend! I’ll be here, cheerleading and rooting for you from the sidelines with all my heart. Or if you’re trying things another way, I’ll meet you there – right in the centre of the arena, softly chanting this rally cry.

“How your life FEELS is way more important than how your life LOOKS”

At this stage in my life, my attention is firmly held on how my life feels on the inside rather than how it looks on the outside. I’ve played that game way too often – and when I’m not paying attention, it can easily creep back in. The results are always, ALWAYS the same - exhausting, empty and fruitless.  But please let me be clear, it’s no easy ride to choose a different way. It means sitting with the discomfort of not pursuing old and outdated ideas of what a successful life looks like, letting go of what we are told is social currency, and instead maintaining a fierce devotion to what we know is real and true, what is kind and fun, what makes us feel fully alive, joyful and able to connect with the things that really matter the most. And my goodness, is it worth it.

I really want that for me. And I really REALLY want that for you too my love.

For every one of you, I know the past year has held both heartbreak and happiness. As we close 2023 together, I hope that each of you is able to release what you most want to let go of, enjoy any freedom that brings you, and use that freed-up energy to create the life you truly want and help make our world a kinder place. 

This week, I’ll be taking time to commune quietly with myself – asking, “where do my dreams want to take me to next? And “What will I do with this one wild and precious life?” I invite you to join me in daring to dream, because your life – your one precious life – is so worth it.

See you along the road my little adventurers!

Go lightly, and always, ALWAYS with love

Deborah 💛 



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