What is a rich inner life?

What does it mean to have a rich inner life?

I read it in a book. A parenting book no less. The book went something like this: if a child sits still and can entertain themselves then its assumed that they have a rich enough inner life to keep them entertained.

Or was it that I was thinking to myself the other day, if an adult can keep themselves entertained long enough without glancing at their phone then they must have a rich inner life?

I probably did some extrapolation and association to arrive at that latter point. A ‘the chicken or the egg’ kind of thought pattern.

But regardless of what prompted the thought, it is now what I strive to achieve because you see, I’m not adjusting well.

The truth is, I’ve spent the good part of a decade in a European country and after a heart wrenching break up (what break ups aren’t, am I right?), a turbulent, drawn out and depressive recovery period, I’ve landed back in my home country. Not my birth country mind you, but a country I’ve called home since I was a toddler.

But it’s proving to be difficult. I’m 2 months in and I’m still at a loss.

I’m (as I’ve self-diagnosed) not adjusting well. Not re-integrating into society and most definitely teetering on the edge of clinical depression. (Sidebar: “Clinical” because apparently being sad for longer than 2 weeks is the official definition of it. I personally feel melancholic but that’s not a state that one can be in for lengthy periods of time without it being called a disorder.)

I find that it’s my newfound environment that is causing me distress. Everything is familiar yet foreign. I feel like an alien. At best I feel like a sociopath observing people so that I can be like them because I don’t know what’s wrong or right or even socially acceptable. I’m not really relating to my fellow compatriots and it’s making me a little miserable. Admittedly I’m not trying very hard because frankly I don’t want to be here.

Despite not wanting to be here, I have to be here for a while. I’m hoping Stockholm Syndrome will kick in soon and make me AOK with being here.

So what have I decided after 2 months? That I must develop a rich inner life in order to cope with the external forces that I cannot control. I need to rebuild myself amongst this environment full of stressors in order to maintain my sanity.

Thus this project on creating a rich inner life.

I’m filling up my time with pursuits that probably take me further away from society or keeps me on a surface level with people but being alone is something I also have to do right now. I had given pieces of myself to someone for so long that now I’m exhausted. When you give yourself away it’s not easy to get it back. You also question whether you want to get it back or do you want to shed those pieces like a snake shedding its skin? A crab moulting to eventually have the hardest shell to protect itself. Live your best shell life! 

I have no grand plans for this personal journey except to document it, maybe to practice my writing and to talk about my feelings. A public diary if you will.

I do hope that by doing so I can find a footing, an anchor or even a tree branch to keep me grounded for a little while.

I so much want to be grateful for this wonderful country I call home but at the same time I feel ungrateful that I want to return to a place that at our best, I had a painful relationship with.

Such is life.

The human condition is to suffer.

But now I create a rich inner life to buoy me in this suffering for a little while longer.

What follows will be what sparks joy in me, my inner most (uncensored) thoughts, my angst, my bitter moments, my ill-adjusted gripes, my whinging, the activities and coping mechanisms I’m developing and my future plans to keep me motivated.

I hope on balance that I will eventually write more about happy things than the sad things. Let’s watch and see.


Photo by Robin Schreiner on Unsplash

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