We are not defined by what we see in the mirror everyday and yet so many of our actions and feelings are governed by it.
Someone asked me recently about the Camino I did 4 years ago. It was 6 weeks of walking and I described it as ‘Life changing’. This made me pause. It felt life changing in the sense of what I learnt about myself, but my actual day to day life now, is basically exactly the same as it was before I went. ‘Life’ has prevented me from changing.
What I mean by that is that the simplicity of the Camino life is what I wanted to bring home with me. I didnt give a moments thought to my hair or my skin. I wore the same 2 pairs of trousers and 3 t shirts everyday for 6 weeks and no one cared, least of all me. Granted, if I had turned up at a black tie ball I might have raised a few eyebrows, but on a day to day basis, no one even noticed.
I do believe that it is absolutely built into our mindset that we need to be worrying about something, however tiny, at all times. Thousands of years ago, they would be worried about being eaten by dinosaurs, hundreds of years ago, by catching small pox or the plague or their fields not yielding crops, their livestock dying. Do you think they gave a moments thought to what they were going to wear, whether a new wrinkle had appeared, whether their roots needed retouching? No, because they had way bigger problems. Similarly on my walk, while not problems exactly, I was focused on how far I was going to walk each day, where I was going to sleep, I didnt care what I ate, just as long as I did actually find somewhere serving food. What I looked like, genuinely never crossed my mind.
We have so little to worry about in modern society that we end up worrying about things that we really shouldn’t give any thought to. Standing in front of a mirror worrying about how we look is if you really think about it a nonsense compared to a woman wondering how she is going to feed her child. I know I am talking in extremes here, but its really to try and make a point. We have created this need within ourselves to be ‘perfect’ or as perfect as we can be whereas we should just be happy that we are living and life is good and we have family and friends and homes.
I am going to make a concerted effort to get back some perspective in my life, not constantly read about new skincare, hair care, exercise tips, weight loss remedies. My Camino was life changing, its time to let it change my life.