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On slowing down

We’re always in a rush. We try to make as many friends as possible, while keeping old friendships alive. We do our best to have exponential careers. We want to travel thrice a year and then post about it on Instagram so that everyone knows we took three vacations. And then we want a healthy body and mind. We want to eat right, exercise thrice a week and journal everyday.

In case it isn’t clear already, I’m talking about myself. I only say “we” so I feel like I’m not the only idiot who wants it all.

This pursuit of everything is exhausting. I feel like I live my life thinking “What next?” On some days, I leave the dining table even before I’ve swallowed the last bite of my breakfast because I feel like I have so much to do and not enough time. I’m motivated to finish a show I’m watching so I can start another one.

When you live like this for too long, the exhaustion catches up. And it did. I'm finally learning to slow down. To be present. To not do everything at once. I tell myself, “You have time. You don’t have to do everything now, in your 20s.”

But slowing down is hard. It doesn’t come easy in a world that is all about FOMO and hustle culture and doing more with your time. Not being in office while half the organization gathers and meets a few times a week makes me feel like I’m missing out. Meeting my oldest friends just once in two weeks feels strange. And when I hear, “I just want to stay home tonight” coming out of my mouth, I shock myself.

Still, I'm trying. Yesterday, I napped in the afternoon after months. And I camped on the sofa, sleeping and watching TV alternatively, for a good 12 hours. At the cost of sounding like an enlightened saint, I have to say, I felt peaceful. I seek more moments like this. Where I feel like I have nowhere else to be and nothing else to do.

Maybe slowing down is just another word for ageing (after all, I did find my second white hair yesterday). Maybe slowing down doesn’t mean doing less, but just being more conscious about what you do. Maybe slowing down doesn't mean not making endless to do lists, but just not chasing the to do list. When I understand slowing down better, I'll let you know. Till then, I guess I'll just nap in the afternoon more.

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