Priorities, and the busy trap

Considering the number of people who have shared this excellent piece with me, I thought I must talk about how difficult it has been to get my priorities in order since I returned from holiday. And when I say difficult-to-get-my-priorities-in-order, of course I mean I’ve been lazy and unwilling to sort them out myself. The author hits the nail on the head, “the laziest ambitious person I know”. I’m also too busy juggling the many things I have taken on, which I see are now mere obligations I struggle to finish, disguised under the garb of work that keeps me busy, and this perhaps has the most to do with why I am always running against time. Never close to finishing everything on my to do list. Never having enough time for the things I honestly enjoy and want to do. Like write. Like cook. Like write about cooking. Like answering emails to friends. Like writing letters. Like learning to bake. Like resuming singing again.

When did it get this way? When did the chase for these things that I have convinced myself I must do, take precedence over the things I want to do? I have slowly and painfully come to the realisation that there is no balance. You (me included) can only either have the must-dos, or want-to-dos, if you’re looking at focusing your energy and doing either of them well. There is no way to balance the two. And the ultimate truth I have digested over the many weeks is that if I want to focus on something I am passionate about, something that is important to me, something I am yearning to do, I must be willing to sacrifice this vast fortress of must-dos I have ensconsed myself within. I have to learn to do without the crutches of what has become my regular life to support me.

To be free of busyness. And enjoy it. That has vaguely been my aim for the year, even thought I have never been able to articulate it as well. It only clicked into place in my head when I read this piece from NY Times. I have fumbled with this inexplicable need for stillness, this longing to calm down and re-prioritize my life, the inability to follow through with goals, the desperate need to do something new and not be able to jump into it.

But 2012 has already sounded the half-time bell and it would be nice to shift gears a little and move towards my passions a little bit more. Even if that means floating on into slightly unsteady waters. And so when the husband spoke about getting the one thing I’ve been longing for, for two and a half years now, for the millionth time, I didn’t use the voice of reason to counter him. It’s like the common sense trump card was suddenly missing. The one that’s always ready to counter every such impulse he ever suggests we should indulge in. This time I let go and decided to listen to him. And as a result, Saturday was spend sourcing my newest acquitisition.

This:

Much-awaited. And I’d like to think, much-deserved. Its a shiny new 40 lt oven, that will hopefully bring a whole new level of satisfaction to my kitchen experience. More importantly, it is a practical, real way to get into learning and perfecting the many things that I have so far only dreamed and talked about, and of course drooled over.

I’m tired of doing photo posts. I really am. Because it feels like a sad excuse for the lack of a moments peace to get onto that long list of posts I have. Its also a miserable way to pacify my own head, which is swirling with ideas for writing. And its a pathetic route to putting off editing the hoard of pictures I have brought back from Thailand. But what can I say. Here’s my excuse: I’ve been madly busy. And it feels absolutely shitty to admit it. Much like it did to lie in bed on Sunday night and wonder where the weekend whizzed by. I got a lot done, a lot of happy things including getting an oven and making grilled veggies, grilled chicken, a rich mocha cake, visiting a restaurant for my next review, and catching Gangs of Wasseypur before it leaves Goa for good.

Here’s part of what we (Shashank, The Husband and I) made:

Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms
Rich Mocha Cake

And yet I didn’t finish all the things I was supposed to do. In the midst of it all, I didn’t make the time to relax. To chill. To kick back with a book. All the things weekends are meant for. And this incredible rush of always doing something or the other seems to have left me with this hectic hangover.

It feels like such a complex web of busyness, and getting out of it is going to be a long drawn process over a few weeks. Disentangling myself, one thing at a time. I must crack open these walls of security, and learn to let go, take a few risks and make myself available for uncertainty. The vulnerability of not being settled. To just live without constantly hanging on to being busy, as a means to support me. To learn to live, unplanned.

To be free of busyness. And enjoy it. That is what I want to be able to do. And because every milestone must have a mention, I’d like to think of this as a milestone in doing just that. Baking is going to be my tryst with the unfamiliar. And to really learn all there is to it, I’m going to have to stop being busy. I’m going to have to start filling my home with the aroma of fresh baking. Immerse myself in the unknown, be brave and play with ingredients I never have, and learn to accept everything that comes from it.

Quite like the way I’m going to have to learn to be free of busyness. And enjoy it.

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15 thoughts on “Priorities, and the busy trap

  1. Have the same oven, Morphy Richards, zindabad! I bought this last month, and coincidentally made cheesy stuffed mushrooms on Saturday :)

    Been reading your blog for a while, and find myself nodding vehemently at most of your posts. I completely relate to your need to just chill, and DO NOTHING once in a while. Yet, lately I find myself fretting too much about it.

    Do I make sense?

    1. Yes, its like years of running after some accomplishment or the other — sometimes getting there, sometimes falling so horribly short, and all the time wondering what the point of it all is, while my loves and passions all fall by the wayside — has left me a bit empty inside.. Its time to do something fulfilling :)

  2. I’ve been meaning to bake cookies ( the easy kind -http://thehairpin.com/2012/02/the-booodseees) since I first read the post! :P Still haven’t baked ANYthing in the oven other than potatoes!

    I really should get down to doing it one of these days. At least you have the excuse of being busy. I don’t even have that. I spend most of my weekend wedged to my couch. *sigh*

  3. I’ve been wanting a fancy oven since ages! May be I should buy one finally! I do have the old style OTG but haven’t ever used it to bake anything. Actually one of my cooking goals is to bake a lot! And I am not big on sweets but want to bake main course casseroles!

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