This morning, Paul Daniels, much loved magician and entertainer sadly passed away from a brain tumour. Here was a man who injected magic and enthusiasm into the heads of millions of young children back in his heyday. Today, each one of those magic-infused children are leading millions of entirely unique lives. Some of them (perhaps more than we might have hoped) may be feeling that the magic is a little lacking day to day. Others may be feeling that the magic has downright gone AWOL without even leaving a note.
Is this you?
Magic takes work. After all, life is a series of days, many of which we spend at work. Days you’re working, days you’re not. Days spent not working may be tainted with niggles about the work you’re not doing. At work you long for days off. Days become weeks. Suddenly there are a glut of Mondays and the next season has suddenly appeared. Food in the fridge seems to be going off faster and then *boom*, it’s your birthday again. Hang on, where’s the variety, what happened to the magic?
No, it’s not the diary of a manic depressive, it’s a standard phase of quite an average human life – and all we ever meant by ‘magic’ is variety, anticipation and challenge. If you feel unmoved and unmoving, it may be time to inject some of this ‘magic’ into your life. Yes, variety is indeed one of the spices of life – it adds flavour, warmth and fires up new electrical currents in our grey cells.
…the idea that time feels as though it’s going faster in middle age appears to be a myth
The feeling that life is speeding up is a commonly reported aspect of ageing – we hear it from our parents and grandparents “make the most of it, it goes so fast” – true, today is later than you may think, but the idea that time feels like it’s going faster in middle age appears to be a myth. In time perception studies, adults in mid-life report that the hours and days pass at what seems to be a normal speed. It’s the years you want to be worried about – they’re the substantial chunks of time that appear to flash by.
Life inevitably brings fewer fresh experiences as we get older – and more routines
Part of the reason that we feel time is speeding up is that, as we get older, life inevitably brings fewer fresh experiences – and instead more repetition and routine. Because we use the number of new memories we form to gauge how much time has passed by, an average week that is much like the week preceding it gives us the rather depressing illusion that time is shrinking.
It’s OK – there’s a remedy. Granted it’s not the elixir of eternal life, but if you want to enrich your time, don’t spend it watching TV or repeatedly inflicting non-interactive activities on yourself. Fill your hours with new experiences and, when you look back, the days will appear longer. Not only that, but your energy levels will increase and feelings of fulfillment will be activated by your time well spent.
Make change. There is so much time for you to get inspired and generate magic in the form of creativity and adventure. We can give you a boost to get your cylinders firing.
1. Listen to complex music
The links between music, intelligence and creativity are established. Listening to some of Mozart’s more complex sonatas, for example, can actually temporarily enhance your spatial-temporal abilities (yes, Google it!). Eliminate distraction, and absorb yourself in at least 15 minutes of complex music, be it Mozart, prog rock or opera – just make it new. Listen. Let it refresh your mind.
2. Mix up your exercise
Introducing exercise isn’t obligatory, but it’s certainly advised. Don’t let your body down by not using it enough. If you already have an exercise routine, well done – but don’t get complacent. Mix it up. Your body will respond to change, new electrical pathways will open in your body and affect your brain, body and outlook positively.
3. Allow time to spend in your own head
Spending time in your own head is important. Aim to spend allocated time in your own thoughts – walking in the park, meditating, or sitting somewhere quiet with a pad of paper. If you like to create, scribbling down fragments of your thoughts can act like trigger-points for music, writing or other creative endeavours later on.
4. Make a plan for the future
The past no longer exists but has made you the person you are today, with all your credentials, your ability to be amazing, and your faults too. We’re all affected by what has already happened, but it is important not to dwell on what has already passed. Concentrate on feeling fulfilled right now, and make a plan that will unfold in the next 3 months. This could be a holiday to a new location, a new course, a change of environment. The greater the challenge and the change, the more you will fire up your creative juices.
5. Create and consult your board
Make a list of 3-5 people, alive or dead, who you find inspiring. They may be in your life now, in your past – or you may have never met them. When you’re feeling blocked, drained, tired or down, consult your board and imagine the responses that each of these characters would give you.
Mentally picture your character and clearly ask a question. You may just be surprised with the variety and usefulness of advice your brain conjures up. One of my board members is Paul Daniels, genuinely. Just occasionally he gives out sound advice, well, sometimes – but admittedly not a lot.