I'll never jump again

"One day, the day will come, when I'll never jump again," a client said to me recently, with a hint of weary self-deprecation. Initially, I was a bit confused; the client seemed fine, was able-bodied and had never mentioned the desire to jump. I wasn't working with an Olympic gymnast here!

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A bit of probing got to the heart of the matter quite quickly. The client, in their 40s, and noticing a slow trickle of increasing little aches, pains and niggles, had become subconsciously aware of their own mortality. In that, as we age, slowly and gradually, there grows a list of things that we will one day do for the last time. The last time we jump in the air, stroke a family pet, scroll through Netflix with a glazed expression, convinced there's nothing to watch.

This made for a sobering moment where I realised something quite profound about mortality. We all - whisper it - know.  And we all know there's nothing very much we can do about it. But the reality is that the awareness of our own mortality isn't likely to be felt on big momentous occasions. Rather, we come to terms with who we are and where we are going by the acknowledgement of the day-to-day. The mundane, the ordinary helps keep us grounded and aware. 

I started to notice how often this popped up in sessions with other clients, albeit in ways which were less noticeable...at first. And yet we are all surrounded by potential moments and people and incidents which can jolt us out of our daily trance-like going about things, and offer us a beautiful reminder. And I truly believe that being alive is that: beautiful. Or, at least, it should be.  

We get to experience moments of joy, of laughter, and of surprise. Sometimes we are blessed by the love and kindness of strangers as well as those closer to us. Yes, it's harder to see and acknowledge these moments of positivity if we are experiencing anxiety or depression or things not going right. But they are still there, these moments, waiting for us on our unique journey.

I hate flying. So, to distract myself on a recent flight, I browsed the in-flight magazine. Page after page of magical creams, miracle serums and potions. All of this is saying, "Buy me and I will make you younger and we will reverse time together." It's nonsense. But it's a multi-billion industry of nonsense, aimed mainly at women. What it's really trying to do is distract us. By obsessing about how we looked and who we were, we might well miss who we are and the wonder of what's happening right now.

It's totally normal to not want to offer too much headspace to our own mortality. Just like it's absolutely fine to want to preserve who we are at our best. But in wonderful moments with clients, I have loved having that shared connection and reminder that we can use therapy sessions to discover something brilliant and profound about ourselves. If you're ready to make a change or start exploring your own world, I'd love to hear from you. Please do email or call me to find out more.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Salford, M6
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Written by Matthew Nichols, BA Hons; PGCE, MBACP
Salford, M6

Matthew Nichols is a best-selling author and a psychotherapist working in private practice in Salford and Manchester. Matthew has experience working with trauma survivors, the LGBTQ+ community and young people. Matthew is currently available for sessions either face-to-face or online. To find out more visit www.matthewnicholstherapy.com.

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