As I type this, I am sitting in a coffee shop enjoying some organic coffee and a home made pastry. Since I work from home for myself, I try to make a point of coming here a few times a week to escape the house and to talk to other humans (The cat gets tired of my witty banter). While I am sitting here working, I keep getting distracted by the customers that come and go in such a hurry – where are they going? Why are they late? What’s the rush? One has to wonder what each person is doing today, but I know what they are feeling – that was me not so long ago.
Sure, I left the rat race about 2.5 years ago to strike out on my own. I have not worked “for the man” since then, and to be honest it would be hard to go back to doing so. I get up when I want, I make my own work hours, and I take time off when I feel that I need it. Most afternoons you would find me hiking out in the woods or by the gorge; it’s one big advantage to working for myself that I have the time to do so. But throughout most of this time, I have always felt that I should be doing “more” with my time. Even when I was out hiking or whatever, I felt as though I was wasting time and that I should be spending my time on more important things. What they were I could not even begin to tell you. But something in my mind kept nagging me to do “more” with my time…even when I could not come up with something to do. It was like a tape being played 24/7 – “you are wasting your time!” or “shouldn’t you be doing something constructive?” or “is this really how you want to be spending your free time?”. This was a constant battle with myself and one that I am only just recently learning to counteract and fight back against.
After talking to a therapist about these things, I realized that I was, in fact, wasting my time thinking about wasting my time. Makes sense, right? Whatever I was doing at that moment was life itself…only focusing on what I would do next or what I should be doing instead left me feeling rather empty and depressed all the time. I never really knew why I felt that way, but it was because I was constantly letting myself down by not living in the moment. I would go siteseeing and be in a hurry to see the next site. I would go to watch the sunset and last about 2.5 minutes before I was bored and wondering what to do next. The list went on and one…I was always thinking I was not doing enough. This madness had to stop.
And it has…slowly. I am learning to meditate. I am learning to just “be” more often, as I mentioned in my post “A Cup Of Coffee And A Window“. I am doing breathing exercises. When I go for a walk, I listen to my feet crunch in the snow or the birds flying overhead. This is a big, huge, giant change for me. Instead of rushing through my walk, rushing through some woodworking project to get finished, or skimming a book to get to the end, I am starting to enjoy the slowness of my every day life. (This post itself is taking a long time, as I keep taking breaks to look out the window of the coffee shop) I have a long way to go, because I still do feel that old “hurry up and get stuff done” mentality creeping up, but I fight the urge now instead of just giving in like I usually would. I am more conscientious of my body, my mind, my actions, and my words. I am finding that it’s just not necessary to feel like I am not doing enough…I am doing what I need to do right now. And that alone has changed my life for the better. It’s amazing what you see when you take the time to slow down.