Taking a break…from a very busy life

Over a month ago, I called a friend of mine to say Hello. I do that once in a while with most of my friends. That once in a while is sometimes after a few days, mostly few weeks and many a times even after a good few months. So there is usually a lot to catch up on.

On this particular call, we both began the conversation with a common phrase, “I have been so busy.”
We sat and talked for at least half hour about how busy our lives had gotten. And then my friend said something that stuck to me real hard and I have been pondering over it since.
“Busy is a state of mind. Busy has become our excuse for everything.”
That accidental statement is the reality of our lives today. I can say this just by evaluating mine over the last several weeks.
It begins at the crack of the dawn. In the rush to get out of the door, avoid tardy slips and getting late for the morning stand-up meetings, we skip breakfast, we forget to give hugs, we yell at each other over missing homework folders and misplaced car keys. Our excuse – we are busy. Our minds are occupied. There are tons of new emails sitting in the Inbox, there are reminders of conference calls popping on our phones, the endless beep of text and Skype messages from colleagues that need to be answered promptly.
More tools, more communication, busier we are.
The pattern continues through out the day. More work, more commitments, more deadlines and more of the “busyness”.  I also noticed that everyone at work spends a few minutes of any conversation exchanging notes about their “busy” schedules. Now add to that mix a bad commute, logistics of running a home, making rounds for errands, volunteering at the kid’s school, chauffeuring the kids to the various classes.  If that is not busy than what is?
So once all of that is taken care of,  “busy” should be all done with for the day. Or so I thought.
A quick fix for dinner, a rushed dinnertime, hastened reading time all in prep for another day to be busy with.
Busy was my or I should say ours (my husband is an equal partner in this) standard excuse for anything and everything ranging from pending bills, half done home projects, missed doctor appointments to unkept closets, clutter in our cars and mounting stack of unread mails.
It was fine till that extent. But then “busy” started interfering with our Netflix binge watching time, Friday family movie time, taking time to unwind time and taking time to do “nothing” time. It also became my standard excuse for not writing anything, a task that comes naturally to me and is my favorite thing to do. I have been absent on the blog for long and this should explain why. I was busy.
This had to change. But “how” was still an open question?  One thing I did figure out was that I had to wipe off “busy” from my mind, albeit even for a small fraction of time each day.
So in the evenings, we started doing things differently.  Dinner is still a quick-fix yet something not just done in a haste for the sake of it. Reading is done more leisurely followed by giggles and animated conversations.  We lounge in the bed giving a little lax to bed time. We make time for a walk or a play in the park. I still get the household chores done, read a few pages, write a few lines and play catch up on work after all that.
The important bit I realized was to not let “busy” try and overpower the mind at anytime. It takes some effort at first and then as you kick it away so far enough that “busy” sits in a corner in awe of how much you can accomplish.  In my effort to do that, I have realized there was so much more in life that I was missing on.
There are still umpteen mails piled on the kitchen counter staring right at my face, the house isn’t clutter free and the to-do list keeps growing but I am getting to all of it gradually. I thought I was doing well till yesterday when my mom called.
“This is the fifteenth time I am reminding you to do my work (something I was supposed to do for her). And please don’t tell me you are busy.”
This was a reminder that I had probably started verbalizing my state of mind too. 
I finished her work in record 10 minutes after our call. That’s exactly how long it took. Most of the other procrastinated tasks including calls to family and friends are usually not more than a few minutes task. Work commitments, chores, errands and life in general does not consume us as much we think it does. I am beginning to love this “not busy” phase of life where there is much more packed in than before and there are far more smiles and laughter.

My friend who preached is practicing herself. We exchanged notes recently and this time when we asked each other how we were doing, neither one of us said, “I am busy”.  That is some good progress we think. We are still trying though. 

So how have you been lately? Busy?
Written By : Our Resident Author, Piya Mukherjee Kalra 
Photo By : Our Resident Photographer, Soumi Haldar