The definition of a home varies from person to person. For some, it is simply their current place of residence. But for many, a place must fulfil certain criteria before it could be considered a true “home”.
For some, a home is a place of rest. It is a peaceful place where they can lay their weary heads to rest. A place where the chaos and pains of the world cannot touch you. A place where you can feel safe in your own space.
For others, it is a place of connection. A place they share with the people they love, whether it be a significant other, family or close friends. It is a place where you can connect intimately with someone at the deepest level, as you would only invite someone you wholly trust to your sanctum.
Much like many questions, this is one where there is no one true answer. Everyone would have their own reason as to why their home is a true home. For myself, a home is a home when there is normal, day-to-day domestic things going on, such as someone cooking up a meal or resting to some music.
Whatever your reason may be, the question is worth pondering because once you have figured it out, you will never feel lost in life.
Our brain thrives on stimulation. We constantly look for distractions, pushing ourselves to always be doing something productive or active. With modern technology such as computers and mobile phones, we have even more ways to use our free time to learn, work and communicate with others (not to mention procrastinating).
However, important as it may be to stay productive and to take action, we seem to have forgotten how to do nothing. There is rarely a moment nowadays when we are truly doing nothing. On our commute to work, we catch up on social media or listen to podcasts. In between tasks, we upload photos or send messages to friends to stay connected. When we have finished our work and chores for the day, we will “unwind” with a show or movie. Even on the toilet, we use our phones to constantly engage our mind.
As much as our mind loves to be stimulated, it also needs rest to process the abundance of information it absorbs during the day. Otherwise, stress starts to pile up from the rushed pace of life and it manifests as crankiness and fatigue. We don’t feel truly rested because when we are supposed to rest, we continue to overwork our mind. What we need is to take five, space out and daydream.
Daydreaming is considered by society as a negative thing. When kids daydream in class, they are told off to focus and do their work. When adults daydream in their own time, others criticise them for being “lazy” and “dull”. It is the direct opposite of what society sees as productivity, where something is created through work and action.
But there is much evidence to suggest that daydreaming has real benefits to your physical and mental health. When you are daydreaming, your body lets its guard down, slowing your brainwaves, heart rate and breathing. Your brain uses that time to consolidate learning, solve complex problems and take inventory of your thoughts and feelings.
Because you have detached yourself from surrounding sensory stimuli, the brain has space to explore the inner workings of your mind, such as your creative side, and coming up with original thoughts. This moment of pause lets your body and mind refresh, allowing it to work more efficiently in processing the past, being mindful of the present and planning for the future.
So unless you absolutely have to be somewhere doing something important right now, take five minutes, put your phone or computer away, look out the window and space out for a bit, letting your mind wander to wherever it pleases. Don’t let anything or anyone distract you and don’t care about what others will think of you.
Lay your weary head to rest and refresh yourself. You deserve a break.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he silently picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”
The professor then produced two cups of coffeefrom under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favourite passions – and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.
The sand is everything else – the small stuff.”
“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18 holes. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”