Until very recently I used to make sure that I had plans for a day or a weekend off. I always had to be doing something outside of the house. Errands to run, people to meet – something needed to occupy my time. I just realized yesterday how excited I was to not have any plans to go anywhere for today. I thought this was a good sign.
But then I realized that I still had plans. Make hummus and pesto. Work on assembling a book. Make jewelry. Paint my toenails. Write an essay. Cook supper. Organize the fridge. I realized that I was still packing my day full of stuff – the only difference was that I wasn’t going anywhere.
I know some of my need to stay busy has to do with my awareness of time, and how little of it there is available to us in our lives. I know some of it is my realization that if I don’t keep up some level of activity then depression will sneak in and set up camp. But this need to stay constantly busy is in itself a symptom of a deeper problem. My need to stay busy is really a need to fill up my time and my head with stuff. It is a need to get away from myself, even if I am the only person in the room.
Being still is, at the heart of it all, being alone. Deep down, I don’t like to be alone. Thus, deep down, I’m not comfortable with myself. This is hard to admit. It, in itself, isn’t a bad thing. Different ways of living are just as valid as having different hair colors or textures. Different isn’t bad or good. It is just different. It is important not to judge, just notice and observe.
What matters most is that I am now conscious of it. Do I let this way of being rule my actions? Do I let it decide for me what I am going to do? Do I live my life by reflex, on autopilot? To unconsciously act, whether directed by a crowd or an unnoticed impulse, is the same. It is, at the heart, to not be fully alive but to have your actions taken out of your control.