I started writing a post about the syndrome of busyness, and how pronounced and in-my-face I find it is, in Bangalore, but there’s way too many thoughts jostling for space in my head, so I decided to let it simmer for a bit.
I feel especially aware and a little sensitive to the busyness trap, because I find myself finally moving towards an actual balance in this area of my life. And I don’t mean “work-life balance” because in my current context the term is severely inadequate.
The more I simplify my life, not just in terms of resisting spreading myself too thin, but getting to the heart of what it is I really, really want and which of those things brings me joy, the more I slow down and let things happen, I see how this balance is possible, and I realise why it has eluded me all these years. And I understand why conversations around how busy we are are becoming increasingly tedious and downright boring.
Is it a big city thing? Or do people actually just love to talk about what’s keeping them busy?
I don’t know when “So busy!” became the appropriate response to the good old “How are you?” but I find myself glazing over and tuning out the minute that a conversation veers in this direction.
Maintaining this balance is an ongoing effort in my life but one that I am only now paying conscious attention to, only because I’ve tasted the joy that comes from making room for that play, when Im not consumed by “work.”
But even that isn’t a fully internalised habit. I struggle to remember it at all times. I often forget to be thankful for the quiet, and in turn don’t notice all the good things that come from it. Some weeks ago my aunt said something to me, when I ranted to her about feeling lazy and unworthy just because I wasn’t able to crack the gym jinx and get my ass going already. She said:
These are necessary autumns of our lives.
It’s an idea that immediately stuck in my head. Autumn: a time of pause, regeration, when timecycles close as we inch towards new beginnings. It’s a natural slowing of energy, in anticipation of fresh starts, new canvasses.
It’s exactly the shift that I have been slowly internalising, what I have been indulging in and making conscious efforts to allow it to slip into every area of my life. Taking time off from all that I think I should be doing and allowing myself that incredible privilege of doing what I want to do and bringing time, attention and energy to the things that I know will actually fuel joy. It’s not in the money I make, the meals I eat out, the clothes I buy, the holidays I take. Yes all of that is essential, desirable and awesome but it isn’t the goal. They’re mere milestones along the way.
This realisation, about making room for the autumn, sitting with the quiet, sometimes the discomfort, accepting the uncertainty, loops back to several disconnected threads that have been weaving an all new outlook to life.
There’s no running away from finally understanding that Ive had it all wrong all this while. So I’m slowly but surely trying to cultivate the patience to correct this. It has meant giving myself these moments (frequent, long, unplanned) of pause. So crucial to having those moments of clarity which somehow only come in the silences in between. And so I must make space for the autumns. To rest, to re-worked, re-observe, re-grow.
I noticed today, driving to my meeting, that just as quickly as spring had sprung last month, the seasons have turned. And like in nature, with the trees, the wind, the clouds and the birds and the bees, that have set periods of rest, when the action is done. Just like there is a time for waiting and watching, when we’ve acted, sowed the seeds, set the ball in motion. Just like there is time for recharging energy, when we’ve spent it all, there is a need for set periods of regeneration. To breathe in a fresh breath of air. To sit still. To wait. And let nature take it’s course and do it’s thing.
Two years ago: Day 96: Busy bee day