Monday used to be a day that everyone complained about having done too much on the weekend and feeling guilty about it. Too much drinking, too much partying, too much everything. Now I find it fascinating that people are feeling guilty on Monday for not having done enough on the weekend. I’ve noticed that every Monday I’m hearing friends or colleagues justifying why they didn’t have a jam-packed weekend. There is so much busy-bragging out there that you feel guilty when you have an idle moment.
I’m guilty as charged – last Sunday I had a pyjama day and I must say that at night I felt guilty for having such an unproductive day. I was planning to do some writing but felt so uninspired to write anything… so instead, I worked on school projects with the kids, read the newspaper, watched a documentary and folded some laundry. At the end of the day I was fine but I must admit that my contentment was not something that came naturally. I had to do several minutes of meditation to accept my day without so much reactivity.
We’re suffering from the epidemic of busyness. We’re telling ourselves, consciously or not, that to live a full life we have to pack every moment of the day with activities – physical and intellectual. I think much of this desire for being busy is fueled by social media. We are constantly reminded that people are occupying their time with the exciting things that they post on Facebook-Twitter-Instagram – we better look busy as well or we won’t look as worthy or as important. Of course it’s not only social media that is influencing us to function beyond our capacity. Living in the digital age puts a lot of pressure on us to squeeze more into our already busy days and overstretched minds. Life is now 24/7, there is always something happening and happening fast, information arriving into our lives via so many channels, we feel like we need to be more productive to keep up – it’s exhausting.
In my case, when I don’t make a conscious decision to stop this madness, I end up compromising on my sleep (something’s gotta give – the day only has 24 hours). I know that some people are using medication and other tricks to cheat sleep and increase their ‘productive’ time but I believe sleep serves a purpose and I’m not like the 1% of the population that can get by with minimal sleep. So in the last few weeks I’ve recommitted to my mindfulness practice and this is helping. I’m still busy and I’m still bragging but not as much as before and a very interesting thing has happened: I’ve become conscious of when I’m bragging. Before, the bragging about being busy was only a default response. Now I see it coming. This is an improvement – the journey to a calmer, more contented and less cluttered life has just began.