Inertia, by Jelani

mountains near body of water painting
John Brett; Near Sorrento, 1863.

To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.

— Robert Louis Stevenson

You might wonder why it’s called Inertia. Well, we know inertia scientifically as the tendency of objects in motion to stay in motion and objects at rest to stay at rest—unless something forces them to change. You should know we are quite the same.

The past twenty years taught me that life does not always go to plan. In particular, I started to learn this during a school trip to Sorrento as a teenager. People will not like you, even if you’re nice. There is no perfect, easy road. Nothing will be and stay as perfect as you want it. Most people prefer the status quo. And even if you slow down, you will feel lost and sad and overwhelmed, from time to time.

A lot of things are inevitable, but our choices are not. People often succumb to endowing the status quo or default choice, also called psychological inertia; we struggle to turn our preferences into actions—myself included—and this is why I write.

We expect hope to decorate our lives with fortune, and while it can help to make the future a little rosier, what happens when the years simply continue to pass? Nothing changes, or you slip even further back; the promotion doesn’t come around, it stops working out with that person you liked, and more problems mount above your existing financial woes.

These weekly mini-essays are a note to self to figure life out as we go through it. It’s to learn how you choose to go from rest to motion, the importance of a well-travelled life, and why your emotional well-being cannot rely on ‘getting there’ with your goals—but understand that ‘trying’ comes with its own rewards.

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The art of self: simple living, creating yourself, and learning to do less, better.


Self. Simple living. Physiology and Psychology.