July was one trying, tiring month, and I’m already thinking up what I’m going to do differently so August doesn’t see a repeat performance. A little introspection made me realise that ever since I gave up the cooking at home, I’ve been gripped by this irrational need to fill every one of those hours freed up with work. I don’t know if it’s my middle-class upbringing but I don’t know where this excessive and unreasonable sense of frugality has suddenly hit me. I realised after giving it some thought that I was unconsciously working harder in order to justify taking time off from cooking, and outsourcing it. Silly, really because this is the whole point of growing and moving on to bigger things. So you can let go of that which no longer interests you, holds your attention, or you cannot make time for. And in my case that doesn’t necessarily mean filling each of the hours freed up from domesticity, with work. I had somehow forgotten about taking advantage of a free hour to read. Or catch coffee with a friend. Or go for a drive. Or hit the beach. These are things I did not so long ago. When I remembered to get my ass off my work chair, and away from my desk.
I realise the ups and downs in my productivity are fairly predictable, perhaps I must just make my peace with it, and give up the perennial quest to balance it out. Maybe spikes and dips are the way to go, but I do want to even out those extreme highs and lows, so I don’t have to swing violently, as I do, between the extremes. The vast in between lies untouched, and it’s where I’d like to be. That is always a challenge. In some part, I’ve already accepted that this swinging between extremes is perhaps the workstyle that comes most naturally to me, and yet some part of me still wishes for less upheaval every time there is a low. Only too often, I find myself pushing myself so hard to one extreme that the only way out of there is down, so I come crashing down. And then, the way up again is usually a hard stop, before I pick myself up again.
Thankfully, most times an opportunity for a forced break presents itself – even if it is a surprise day off to turn my laptop off and spend the day quietly. But this time, I’m off to Bangalore tomorrow, en route to Kerala for a break with my family. Well timed. Much needed. So I’m taking this very timely intervention to cut back. After a very long time, it’s going to be just us – my folks, my sister and I – on holiday. And I’m looking forward to the famjam. Going away to the hills, out of range means I am going to be inaccessible. Which also means this is a great time for me to wipe that metaphoric board clean, recharge batteries and come back set to do things a little differently.
In a wonderful twist of events (again so timely), I managed to buy myself a Kindle this week. The order said it would take a week or ten days at best. But it has arrived, right in time to be loaded up for a week of vegging out.