I googled Once in a Lifetime (the song, not my post) and came across this comment on the meaning of it:
So true, so very true. I admit that sometimes I have a tendency to over-think things and in the process “bleed all over the carpet” as Steve, an old, cantankerous friend of ours, used to say. But I am of the opinion that we should be constantly mindful of how we live our lives; we need to pay attention goddammit! I am aware that there’s a fine line between reflection and navel-gazing but I do need to get this off my chest.
In a nutshell, I think that the Durban house had a part in defining me when I lived there, and now that we are selling the house, I’m confronted by the realisation that I’m not that person anymore. So who am I? Ergo, existential crisis!I found this on Wikipedia and thought it made a lot of sense; I particularly liked the last paragraph:
An existential crisis is often provoked by a significant event in the person’s life — marriage, separation, major loss, the death of a loved one, a life-threatening experience, a new love partner, psychoactive drug use, adult children leaving home, reaching a personally-significant age (turning 20, turning 30, turning 40, etc.), etc. Usually, it provokes the sufferer’s introspection about personal mortality, thus revealing the psychological repression of said awareness.
An existential crisis may resemble anomie (a personal condition resulting from a lack of norms) or a midlife crisis. Sometimes, an existential crisis stems from a person’s new perception of life and existence.
When a person faces the paradox of believing his or her life is important whilst thinking that human existence is meaningless and without purpose, cognitive dissonance occurs, overcoming many innate psychological and cultural defence mechanisms.
Analogously, existentialism posits that a person can and does define the meaning and purpose of their life, and therefore must choose to resolve the crisis of existence.
So, you’ll be relieved to hear that my existential crisis has been averted; or rather I’ve chosen to distract myself from it as well as doing a bit of anchoring, isolating and sublimating.
“What the bloody hell is she on about now?” Let me illuminate, thanks to Wikipedia again:
Peter Wessel Zapffe, a Norwegian philosopher, provided, in his work The Last Messiah, a fourfold route that he believed all self-conscious beings use in order to cope with the inherent indifference and absurdity of existence, comprising Anchoring, Isolation, Distraction, and Sublimation:
- Anchoring is the “fixation of points within, or construction of walls around, the liquid fray of consciousness”. The anchoring mechanism provides individuals with a value or an ideal that allows them to focus their attentions in a consistent manner. Zapffe also applied the anchoring principle to society, and stated “God, the Church, the State, morality, fate, the laws of life, the people, the future” are all examples of collective primary anchoring firmaments.
- Isolation is “a fully arbitrary dismissal from consciousness of all disturbing and destructive thought and feeling”.
- Distraction is when “one limits attention to the critical bounds by constantly enthralling it with impressions”. Distraction focuses all of one’s energy on a task or idea to prevent the mind from turning in on itself.
- Sublimation is the refocusing of energy away from negative outlets, toward positive ones. The individual distances him / herself and looks at their existence from an aesthetic point of view (e.g. writers, poets, painters).
Well, I has a PRO-JEK! I have thrown caution to the wind and bought a wooden cottage for Kho, the chap who works for me on the farm. It will be my cottage but for his use while he is an employee of mine. At the moment he is staying on my neighbour’s property. There will be lots to do over the coming months, I have to get water and electricity / solar energy to the cottage, furnish and decorate it, plan a garden around it – I’m so excited. No time to dwell on the “liquid fray of consciousness” I’m afraid.
It doesn’t mean, however, that I shan’t be mindful of this beautiful place that I find myself in or the fact that I’m no longer a Musgrave Mummy.