At the start of this year, I went to a workshop to learn how to teach gym classes to music and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
When I came back from listening to loud tunes and hanging out with people I liked who listened to me and showed me how to be a better coach, I was walking by myself along the canal and it was peaceful; just me, no traffic, no work to rush back for…and I felt [something].
Click to see my instagram video on identifying loneliness and the comedown
What I thought I was feeling, at first, was loneliness, maybe even sadness. Was I by myself, yes? Did I need anyone else right then? No. So I was definitely alone but I wasn’t really lonely.
Was I sad? No. Was I less happy? Relatively. I’d just spent half a day in a flow state, in which I was stimulated and pushed and listened to, and, following that, I wasn’t.
Just as we would never want to be constantly down, we can’t be constantly up: both states are exhausting and sometimes not fitting to the environments we’re in.
Baseline is steady – neither up nor down, good nor bad – and it’s sometimes difficult to hang there.
I think it’s part of the reason why a lot of people smoke or drink after work and at weekends and consume too much caffeine all of the time: it’s tough to be at baseline.
Baseline is often not exciting, or sociable, or, obviously, of itself, gratifying; equally, it’s not the opposite of those things.
To my mind, baseline is in between where we (often) enjoy being and where we (often) don’t want to be.
Over tens of thousands of years, many have walked this middle way, this baseline, and lots have argued it’s the path most of us should take.
…but if it were easy, we’d all be doing it.