Living in present was never a priority because I was so busy planning for future.
Caught up in the daily buzz, running from one customer meeting to the other, finishing a call to take up the one that I put on hold and jumping in apt attention on every next phone alert…it was like escaping from one long red light to be caught at another and then another till the whole day is over. That was my life as a sales manager!
Coming back home late from work instead of relaxing, taking a breath of relief and relishing the joy you get after a hard days work I would often open my laptop to utilize that last few minutes before the day was over.
Sometimes if that wasn’t possible (if in case the laptop had run out of battery and called it quits!), I would call up work colleagues and dealers to take stock of their work.
So uncomfortable was I being alone in my own company.
I kept so busy from the moment I got up till the time I went back to bed that to be alone doing nothing seemed an awkward possibility.
I packed my days or rather the free hours of my day with as many obligations I can come up with, forcing myself to believe that I am as important as my daily to do list. My sole mission of each day to check off all items of it and to start the next day with another.
Busyness: your own choice
But I wonder now if being a part of it wasn’t my own choice.
Are we not guilty for this ‘busyness’ business we pretend to keep ourselves wrapped up in to shoo away fears of being unimportant and worthless and probably to push back a few monsters in our head?
We assure ourselves that this is the only way to be happy and successful. That our degree of busyness represents somehow our graph of success in life.
The pat response that I receives nowadays from friends and colleagues (with a triumphant victorious smile on their face!)to my how-are-you is not good, great or fine but a monosyllabic ‘busy’ or a dual syllabic ‘hectic’….both of which are misconstrued as signs of a prosperous and good life.
Bag packs of busyness:
And if that wasn’t enough ,we have included the kids in it too. I remember the much awaited two month summer vacations in school when we used to visit our grandparents. Our days were filled with long hours of doing nothing freedom where we used to chase butterflies, play with the pets or run around each other in hot summer afternoons but the butterflies have been replaced by our high aspirations and we chase dreams as we enroll our kids in all kinds of extra courses and classes, trying to keep them away from being idle fearing it would somehow rust their minds and make them less ambitious.
But please don’t think of us as boring or un-happening….to escape this dead beat routine( and to make sure we have enough pics to make a decent Facebook album), we make sure to go on some hilly or sandy vacations every year. But we forget, going on a vacation is one thing and training our minds to relax another.
So even when on vacation, we carry our busyness still packed in our bags.
I remember while vacating at one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain last summer, people laying on sandy beaches, feeling the warm waves occasionally tinkling their feet and then suddenly jumping up at the beep of their phone (as if waking to reality from a beautiful dream)to check texts, reply to emails, chat long hours and even have teleconferences. Phew…now that’s what I call getting-all-worked-up on a vacation!
Getting down from the ball:
During an episode of American popular show fear factor, the contestants were hung high in the air(with a rope) and made to stand on a giant ball. Slowly the ball started moving and you had to match your feet with it. Till you could keep pace with the moving ball you were winning, the moment you got out of sync , you fell.
In some funny (and sad) way, we have made our lives today a lot similar to the Fear factor task. We keep running from task to task, trying to maintain delicate balance, to keep up with the fast moving life zipping below our feet and we convince ourselves this is the only way to win.
We define our own success in terms of how long we could keep pace with the moving ball.
To be with oneself or spend some time alone doesn’t term you a loner, shy or introvert, it is also not equal to yoga or meditation .
It just means getting off the ball sometimes(without falling!) to reflect on the other more important aspects of life that truly define our happiness or the lack of it. To take time to sort internally the questions that haunt our lives…. failing relationships, poor quality of life, reclining health, decreasing productivity, increasing stress and the list could go on. But the underlining message is to get down from the ball once in a while to take time out for yourself and for things that matter most to you in the long run.
I have traveled a long journey from that day to where I stand today.
Learning to relax slowly, to slow down, to stop and appreciate the beauty of life that lays around me, to be thankful of the countless blessings I have been endowed with and to simply just be with myself…it isn’t so awkward any more, to acknowledge my own feelings and to take a step back and observe life without getting carried away with it.
If you enjoyed reading this post you might also like to read 10 signs of a Healthy Relationship, 10 Reasons why 30′s is the most awesome time of your life, and 35 Things Indians do differently than the rest of the world. By Swati Chauhan