I had a quiet weekend which seeped into an even quieter Monday, and a rather quiet Tuesday (though less quiet than it was yesterday) and I don’t feel like peeking out of this cocoon of peace anytime soon.
Why? Because I’m feeling quiet, mostly. It’s so quiet, I can hear myself think. So quiet, I actually got a giant-ass amount of work done while I wasn’t busy chattering about how much there is to be done.
I’ve become so used to the clatter and noise around being busy, that I have forgotten what this quiet can feel like. And how important it is. This past weekend, I found myself desperately resisting the virtual and real company of groups of people so much that I was deliberately retreating within myself, creating a layer of silence around me. I understand now why I’m resisting it – it’s because of all the bloody noise. It is energy-sapping. And because I’ve come to accept the cycle of 1) feeling stretched and pulled in many a direction 2) giving of myself equally in every direction possible 3) trying to shake off the feeling of fatigue 4) feeling depleted and finally 5) retreating into a shell to regain that silence again, it all makes some sense to me now.
Much as I have come to appreciate the space social media deserves in my life, I think I just don’t have a handle on balance when using it. I am hugely grateful for it all – facebook for the work it brings me, this blog for the platform it gives me to rant rave ramble away as much as I please, whatsapp for keeping my family and friends close – but man alive, it also adds to so much of the noise I’m talking about. Literally, from relentlessly pinging away to figuratively, by channeling so much information (equal parts useful and inane, equal parts necessary and unnecessary) and funnelling it all into our already overloaded brains.
As much as it brings us close to people, it has made us just a little selfish. Selfish in the way we expect immediate responses, feel free to ask for help any time we please, and in draining away so much more energy from those we communicate so relentlessly with. Being accessible and at close reach is one thing, but to always be on call is a bloody pain in the arse. I hate it when clients follow up emails with whatsapp messages (you know, just in case!) as much as I hate it when whatsapping me is used as substitute for Googling something.
The answer lies in being able to say no, of course. And not having to even say it as much as being able to establish that boundary. I’m making baby steps, and hopefully someday I will wield this beast the way it’s meant to be. Until then, I suppose I will continue to have these bouts of forced silence, keeping the forces that demand my time and attention at bay.
It’s not only about feeling like my time is on demand, though. It is also just the noise. Most days we fuss about our lives so much before we get on with it. We talk incessantly about how busy we are, reiterate it to ourselves a hundred times over and constantly freely share information about everything that is keeping us busy. I think some part of it is an offshoot no longer having a distraction free existence. The sheer ease with which we can communicate little nuggets about our life has made it impossible to talk less and do more. Like we once used to.
I felt this especially over yesterday and today when I look at the colossal amounts of work I’ve finished (more than I have in accomplished in two days, in a long, long time) simply because I have not talked too much about it. I turned the data on my phone off, for the most part, diligently stayed off email, facebook and feedly, which is to say I consciously chose not to convince myself that random browsing binges are actual, legitimate breaks from work, used the distraction free writing mode on MS Word and just got on with it. And I did not stop until I had finished what I set out to do.
Triple the amount of work I usually get done, is now complete. Quite unexpectedly freeing my evening up, which I will now utilise for the much needed visit to the salon that I have been putting off for about two weeks now because, you know. No. Time. It seems.