Friday, January 3, 2014

A luxury called, “I’ll do it tomorrow!”

She was never the one to notice the calendar. The dates on her calendar - always rolled. So much so that 24 hours were often insufficient before she could call it a day. Her days were always action packed! ‘Miles to go, before I sleep’ was her mantra for life and living as she raced ahead from one day to the next.
The tradition continued over this phase of life too. The need to fill in the day, make it wholesome, busy, fulfilling and constructive, was compelling and imperative. From the minute she woke up each day the agenda was tight. Over a quick breakfast she made a list of the daily chores. The newspaper stared at her through the corner of her eye. She quickly glanced at the headlines, and skimmed through the sports and entertainment sections. As she neatly folded it and put it back in its place, along with many others, she promised herself that one of these days she will get down to reading them all!  Habitually she jumped right into action!

Cooking was usually the first task of the day. As she wiped the kitchen top clean, the dishwasher beeped in completion of its cycle. Pots, pans and dishes went back in their place in mechanical precision. Her mind in the meanwhile was already thinking of the next items on the agenda! Emails to respond to, clients to follow up on, article submissions were piling up. “Well, let’s get on it,” she thought to herself as she walked over to the television and flicked it on. Some easy background banter always got her to work with more effectiveness as opposed to stiff silence. Surfing through the channels she excitedly stopped at one of them. They were playing her all-time favorite movie. She sat for a while to watch it, and then felt guilty for wasting time and hurriedly carried on to get the job done.
The day continued with the usual pile of laundry and ironing, a quick run around the block, a rushed bath, a speedy lunch followed by some more compulsive working. The clock kept pace with her while outside a beautiful day emptied itself on to the horizon of the night. Ironically though it still didn’t feel like a full enough day! Just not a fulfilling day! Disheartened she felt mentally and physically exhausted.

Right then her husband walked in, ritually hugged her and asked, “Wassup?! What did you do today?!” “Nothing, nothing much!” was the dejected reply.
That night though as she lay on her pillow she reflected….she reflected on what defines a wholesome, fulfilling or constructive day?! What more should I do? What am I not doing enough of? Perhaps then, she thought to herself, the question is, “What should I do differently”?

The next morning saw a new dawn as she woke up and lazed in bed a while. She leisurely sat with the newspaper over breakfast. Read it from front to back, just the way she liked to. As she pottered in the kitchen, cooking up a meal she played the radio and even sang along to a few tunes turning a regular morning into a Karaoke blast. That was fun! Later that morning, after her run, instead of dashing back home; she sat a while by the lake breathing in the fresh crisp air. Back home she caught up with urgent mail and thereafter ate lunch, cozy on the couch while watching a movie starring her favorite actors. And yes, there were moments when she felt a compelling urge to get up and work. She noticed the pile of clothes which needed to be folded, the kitchen shelves could do with a good dusting and work submissions glared at her from the desk nearby. Stubbornly she ignored it all….stuck in there and enjoyed a day with herself. Just for today she decided to do nothing at all! She read a chapter from a new book, sat on the porch with lemonade and later even opted to take a refreshing afternoon nap. She burned some incense, lit a few candles and bowed down in prayer at sun set. In this moment, she thanked the Lord with immense gratitude for a wonderful day.
Later that evening her husband walked in, ritually hugged her and asked, “What did you do today?!” “A lot, a whole lot!” was the pleased reply.

Notes from my desk: I have always been a person who wants to be one step ahead. To do lists have been an integral part of my life. What other better way to cope with this hectic, fast-paced, fractured and hurried world most of us live in?!

What’s more, most of us are conditioned to think this is the way life should be. Life should be lived at break-neck speed, we believe. We risk our lives in cars as we break the speed limit, rushing from one place to another. We do one thing after another, multi-tasking and switching between tasks as fast as we can blink. All in the name of productivity, of having more, of appearing busy, to ourselves and to others.

Why can’t we just live in this moment? Appreciate our life for what we have now?

In this fast paced world if life presents you with an opportunity to slow down… then grab it! Slow down! If not, then make the time….take the time to nourish yourself. Nourish your soul. Read a book. Watch a movie. Dance your heart out. Be a bathroom singer. Go for a long peaceful walk. Sit in silence. Meditate. Pray. Be happy with and within yourself..... Just breathe! Today I chose to do just that!

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