It’s hard to fathom that we have been living in lockdown for 73 days today! Every morning on my “commute” to the workstation, I would do a pit stop by the kitchen to pick up my freshly brewed coffee, thank you, Mr A, walked over to the bay window to get a glimpse of the outside world. I can just about see a corner of our high street. A street that was once full of life, hustles and bustles of the London lifestyle. Pubs, restaurants, and cafes are filled with people hanging out with their friends. This social scene feels like a lifetime ago now. Our streets have transformed into this somewhat confusing state of silent eeriness yet comforting slowness. It feels like the whole world is taking on a new challenge of ‘slowing down’. #thankyoucovid19. And we have been given a second chance to really appreciate life once again. Perhaps slowing down is exactly what the world needs. Slowing down is good for the soul. It certainly is exactly what I needed.
Look, it’s no denying that this is a difficult time and I think we can all agree that this was not what we had planned for 2020. But I cannot not acknowledge our modern heroes, our selfless front-line doctors and nurses who are at war every day taking care of those who got sick. I am equally very grateful for the delivery staff who have been working tirelessly to ensure all my online orders are delivered safely to my doorstep!
But I’m not going to lie, this slower pace of life is agreeing with me. My skin is better and my sleeps are deeper. I feel mentally and emotionally rejuvenated. Honestly, I think this slowing down in life is good for my soul. Having lived in London for nearly a decade now, I have gotten so used to operating at lightning speed. If you don’t know what I mean, a short ride on the tube (after lockdown of course) to central London is all you need. I was once that Aussie girl experiencing the tube journey for the first time. I was walking at my usual non-chalently-Melbournian pace only to be knocked out of the way by fellow commuters coming at a speed that even Usain Bolt would be impressed with because they cannot wait two minutes for the next train. And was greeted with, not it was “sorry” but a “zhje” sound. You know the sound you make by clicking your tongue against the back of your teeth? Yes, “the” sound. I was mortified! But this is the “London culture”. Living life on the fast lane.
Is it LOVE or is it FOMO?
I have since embraced the thrill of high-speed living and quickly adapted to living on the fast lane. I became the person who loves, and I use the term loosely, to be busy all the time. To achieve everything by yesterday! I love going out and exploring new places, dining and wining in some fancy restaurants, catching a new musical or just hanging with friends etc etc etc. I used to do city hop on the weekends at least once a month, if not every other weekend to explore new cities and experience different cultures. When I am not travelling, I would have a plan or come up with something to do because the staying home was being lazy and boring. I have not moved to the other side of the world to spend my weekends at home!
Uh-uh! I’ve made it through an intensive work week so I ain’t spending this weekend doing the laundry and running errands especially since the sun is out! This is a typical conversation I have with myself. So I would talk the husband into doing a picnic in the park. I spent an hour getting ready, 30min to pack a picnic, 30min to get to Primrose Hill and another hour plus setting up our station. Think careful placement of wine bottles, plastic cups, and artistically plated croissants from Waitrose and throw in two French baguettes for good measure. Let’s not forget the peonies, they’d make my flat lay pop. Yes, it’s all for the gram because have you really had a picnic in Primrose Hill unless it’s on the gram? 🙂
It is when I am chilled, relaxed and having the most fun is when it all starts pouring in… right before my eyes.
Freshly washed laundry tightly squeezed together in the washing machine flashed before my eyes. Oh crap! We forgot to hang the laundry before we left. I blinked and saw my oh-too-full-in-desperate-need-for-some-Marie-Kondo-makeover wardrobe. Uhh… that was what I had planned for today! I blinked again and my knitting project that was supposed to be finished 2 years ago came into my mind… it was like watching my to-do list on a film projector flashing in front of me, one after another.
STOP! I did not sign up for this ‘Walt-to-do Disney’ production. Then the guilt starts rolling in… Oh, the guilt! Should I really be sitting here relaxing or having fun when I have all these unfinished/new projects/errands to get on with?
But I know if I was at home working through my list, similar scenarios will eventually play out in my mind. Arghhh I can’t believe I am staying home when all my friends are hanging out. Why did we decline the invite?! Am I really missing out on the sunshine today? Am I really going to spend this weekend at home and miss out on all the fun?! FOMO (the fear of missing out) is real you guys! So it raises the question, do I still “love” going out or have I simply become obsessed with FOMO?
Doing less to achieve more
The truth is, I became obsessed with “having it all”. I want it all and I want it all yesterday! And then everything I loved doing became a battle between opportunities and costs. I was never really present anymore because I was too busy thinking about what being “here” is costing me in other opportunities. I am forever wondering if what I am doing is what I am supposed to be doing or can I be more productive doing something else? The internal battle and mental negotiation I continue to have in my mind. I was no longer living in the moment. It was like my mind and my body are no longer connected. I felt like a lost soul sometimes.
Then Covid-19 happened. And just like that… The world slowed down. All that weighing up, vanished. FOMO vanished! Life in the lockdown is so much much simpler because I only had one goal to meet every day… Stay home. I didn’t have to worry about making plans or if my friends are doing more fun things than me because they too only had one goal. Stay Home. Everyone is in the same boat and learning to adjust to this slower pace in life. This new normal.
Suddenly and ironically, I seem to have found so much time on my hands. I no longer feel the need to do everything today because there will always be tomorrow and tomorrow. So I gave myself the permission to do one thing at a time. As a result, I experienced this amazing gift called present. When I virtual hang out with my family or friends, I am present. When I am working on my unfinished projects, I am present. When I read, I am fully engrossed in the book.
For the first time in a long time, my mind, body and soul are finally back in alignment!
Slowing down is good for the soul. I have achieved so much more than just ticking off my to-do list. I even have time to pick up a new hobby! But most importantly, I am living in the ‘present’. I am mentally, emotionally and physically right here right now always.
So I challenge you to slow down, do less and stay present. You will achieve so much more.
And… you’re welcome! 🙂