A nostalgia for the irretrievable past is enough to send anyone to a dark and lonely place. But a nostalgia for moments lived to the fullest, that delicious state of “Flow,” can sink us to a living hell. I know. I've been there. Henry David Thoreau refers to this state of mind as "a life of quiet desperation."
We can’t live in the past… and being nostalgic for it is unproductive at best. But it’s never too late to find our Flow again.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the positive psychologist credited with having popularized the concept of “Flow,” shares his definition for the mental state of being “in Flow” in his interview with Wired magazine:
“…being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
Living a life of “quiet desperation” is a choice. Finding Flow is also a choice.
To find a task, hobby, sport, skill, etc. in which we can be totally and utterly immersed is to find our Flow again, that place where time stands still and the outside world dissolves like the background of an iPhone photo in portrait mode.
I find my Flow getting lost in the mountains of Lake Tahoe; in writing about and photographing this magnificent place I call home.
The trick is being a detective of Flow. If you haven’t found your Flow yet, keep looking. Experience new things, meet new people, visit new places, take new classes, try new hobbies. Don’t be nostalgic for it!
Find your Flow. Get out of your cave and slay that wooly mammoth!