I was told about a book this week. Sober Diaries (by Clare Pooley). An inspiring blogger who wrote a book about her struggles with alcohol and sets herself a 100 day challenge. Whether you think this applies to you or someone else or doesn’t apply at all it’s still a really good unpatronising funny and powerful read.
I’m half way through and what I realised more than anything is we often look to something else to make sure we don’t have to focus on the niggly stuff.
She talks about alcohol but as I read it, I realised my drug is ‘busy’. And it’s a very popular and accepted tactic of avoidance. It’s even encouraged in society. How many times are we met when we talk to friends and family with stories how they never have a minute in the day or how hectic work is or how the kids are driving them mad or what’s left to clean and iron and wash or what excercise class they need to get to. Even though I keep my weekends free from work type stuff what I’ve realised is that they’re free but also busy. Busy with lots of lovely things but truthfully, probably way too packed. Why? Because then I don’t have too much time to think about things that I might not want to. Tes. Grief. Money. Problems. Work. Etc.
The thing is in our society if your not professing about this busy hectic life then people often think your unmotivated, unambitious, lazy. When someone tells me they’ve read a book I honestly think really loudly in my head. How??! (I had to download mine on audio to fit it in while driving or I read it during my frequents bouts of being awake at 3am!) How do people get time to read books? Or even more impressive. – watching a box set. In one sitting.
I’m always on the go. I feel my Nanna was a big influence on this. Education was a luxury/waste of time. Hard work is what was important. I have found myself in relationships with equally busy minded partners and friends tend also to be dynamic and on the go. Days planned out. Times plotted. Maps drawn. Evenings allotted. No time to think.
I pride myself on telling people I watch TV on catch up. No time for actually watching tv when it’s on. I have no time for books though there are 5 next to my bed. Waiting. My new swimming costume stays in its cellophane. No time. I couldn’t make the amateur dramatics. No time. It’s popular to be rushing and having no time. It’s much easier to join in with the chorus of the busy and tired brigade.
This week I’ve been ill. I got in the car on Monday morning, my ribs hurt from coughing all night. The ibuprofen helped with my temperature but my head throbbed and I was a little breathless from the chest infection. Of course I was going to work. I felt far too guilty to contemplate anything else. I survived until home time and I wearily made the 29 mile journey back. Heavy eyes. Yawning. Achey limbs.
Who am I doing this for? Yes I’m told I have a ‘great work ethic’. Yes I’m loyal. Yes I’m dedicated to work. But.
Who am I doing this for?? This busy frantic life. Why don’t I have time to read a book? Why do I feel guilty for watching tv? Why do I have to justify and tell people I’ve already walked 3 miles that day if I’m sitting down for more than 20 mins?
I was telling mum about this blog yesterday. Another very busy bee. A few minutes later she said.. I watched a film the other week. During the day. Then of course she followed it up with… I haven’t done that for years!! We have to justify if we take time out for ourselves.
Time doing nothing is really really good for us. The happiest man in the world apparently locked himself away in a hut for 5 years!! It seems dramatic and of course impossible for us but our brains are so busy with phones and to do lists there’s no wonder mental health issues are on the up. We could try doing absolutely nothing for 5 minutes at least!
I’m reading (aka googling for busy people!) up on Hyggae at the moment. A study on the Danes. The happiest nation on earth! Yet they have the least natural daylight. What do they do to keep so happy? The basic premis is… they create ‘cosy’. Lighting. Candles. Blankets. Hot chocolate. Family get togethers. Community projects. Outdoors. Technology free time. They take away what drains us and focus on what makes us feel cosy. Warm. Loved.
Sounds good to me. Huggae. I’m coming to get you.
Happy Sunday x