For the past ten months I have been transitioning career wise and family priorities wise. There are many changes in work schedules, at home, and handling relationships within the extended family and outside. During this course of time I developed a habit of juxtaposing the time I spend on everything with productivity level. I look forward that every task should have a worthy output. Too bad!
Right now I’m, vacationing this summer, in Southern California – one of the most beautiful places to live in – which is also my other home. After a big chunk of time I’m taking a break. Otherwise a very busy person I’m handling two different demanding careers, a corporate lawyer and a law professor, is not that much at ease by doing nothing of that sort and just relaxing all the time. My mind and physical being are traveling in different directions and I miss my work schedules. There is this guilty feeling of doing nothing and wasting precious time sink me in discomfiture.
“What a slug you are”, say my mind.
“Hey I’m on vacation – get off of me,” chide my heart.
And I’m, chewing my nails, standing in between these two forces. Well, I have to put an act of enjoying my vacation in front of my family and dare not utter a word about missing my work to them lest I’ll be mocked to death.
“Why can’t I take life easy and cool when things are conducive to do so!” I shrug walking into the kitchen.
Yesterday, a silvery morning, we went to the beach – again I warned my heart and mind to stay away from each other and headed to the beach. I mechanically walked behind my husband and daughter. They both rejoiced the radiant Saturday morning. It was a low tide day and the pacific was calmer than mother’s lullaby. We walked along the shore pressing the wet sand.
My husband and daughter did whatever they wanted to and I sat on a table-top rock dangling my legs in the water. It was quite a view from there. The toasty spring weather gave an opportunity to everyone to have a share of fun. The sailing boats cruised along; surfers were desperate looking for even a small wave to glide along. Joggers and walkers were at their best. Couples and young lovers ambled clasping their hands whispering sweet nothings. Seagulls feasted on the small sea-creatures that washed upto the shore. Families chose the best spots to set-up their picnic events. Babies cooed looking at their siblings jumping into the water or kicking a ball into the water.
The beach was cosmopolitan with tourist and local crowd. It was a real circus with everyone doused in their own world of fun.
A cluster of tide pools around the rock that I sat on was full of life. The low tides lapped the shores steadily filling water in these tiny dents on the ground. Scurrying Hermit Crabs competed with Black Turban Snail. Barnacles, Rock-weed, Mussels, Coralline Algae, and Kelp Snail owned their small dwellings in the tide pools which reminded of the cosmopolitan neighborhood of the metro cities. I couldn’t draw any difference between the human world on the beach and the sea-creatures world in tide pools. After all the Creator is the same and He sure is impartial in giving the best to His every creation.
I was the only one, with my sunglasses on, did nothing but panning my eyes across the shores. Lately I noticed that peace and calm prevailed in my mind. It seemed truce between the opponents…mind and heart. I rechecked the guilt feeling of wasting time that tormented me since I took off from my work and boarded the flight. I saw no traces of that and rather it was replaced with delight at the moment. My feet in the cold sea-water was pacifying and chased the heat of tension away from my head. The buoyant atmosphere around me broke the shackle of compulsion – the compulsion of being productive all the times.
“Can’t I sit for a while enjoying “me time” doing nothing?”
“Yes, of course. I can.” I boldly answered to myself.
And I spent three enormous peaceful hours sitting on the same rock distilling the happiness I didn’t find in whole year of slogging resulted in many awards and rewards. I seldom felt that had I spent these three hours consulting my clients I would have converted the chunk of intangible time into a tangible big check amount.
Seriously, I don’t remember spending ten minutes in the backyard/terrace watching sun, moon, or stars. I don’t remember sitting at one place enjoying my food – it’s rather stuff-the-mouth-and-run or eat-in-the-car routine. My unrelenting nature to work deterred me from sitting with my child and playing a board game.
What an awakening! The way it’s OK to make mistakes and learn from it, it’s OK to sit doing nothing or wasting an hour and being unproductive. Not the end of the world. There is always a next hour or tomorrow to catch up. I’m so happy with the mental renaissance I attained in these three hours.
If I have to stay away from work to watch a silly movie with my silly friends – I have to do this. If my daughter wants us to go for shopping on Monday – I’m game. Or if my mother wants me to take her to the temple on a busy day evening – I’ll make it. The best is I’m gonna have a frequent “me time” slot doing nothing, no matter how busy my schedule is.
Lots of pending work disappointing my boss and losing remuneration for the time spent having fun during the work hours and making less money – no big deal. I will make it up some other time.
I’m a “me time” lover now.