Are we really living that fast?
I though I wasn’t, until I decided to join my family to a trip to Tuscany.
Before taking that airplane to Italy, I was not conscious at all how fast I was living. To be honest, I still don’t think I am that busy a person. As a matter of fact, I don’t have an exceptional life: I have a 9-to-6 job, a house to keep clean, an empty stomach to fill and a couple of hobbies. I wake up at about 7am and go to sleep at 11pm, which means I do have plenty of time to rest. I love my job and have time to read a book on my daily commute. Yes, I am aware of the never-ending debate about technology and stress, and about people not having time to read anymore or being unable to concentrate on something for too long because of social media and so on and so forth.
However, I realised what that meant only when I finally reached a resort in a lost pinewood with almost no internet connection and no mobile coverage either,
with the exception of the half square meter that covered my sister Lucy’s pillow.
It was not the first time I spent my holidays there. In fact, I holidayed in Riva degli Etruschi for almost all my childhood. I knew that a week there meant long hours of uninterrupted sleep, mornings and afternoons immersed in a book and strolls along the beach to chat and to get tanned almost effortlessly. And I was ready for that: I had planned which books to read, what swimwear to bring with me and which makeup products to leave at home – almost all of them.
What I wasn’t quite ready to embrace was the stillness of time. As soon as I lied on the sand the very first day, I felt it: the rhythm of the waves that would have marked my holidays. It was much slower than expected. After a couple of hours I had to change book because I was getting bored with the one I was reading. After a day I borrowed a book from my sister Lucy
as I only brought two. I was feeling restless, I thought I was loosing my precious time, I was nervous and didn’t know what to do. I walked, I ran in flip-flops and got hurt, I stared helpless at the waves. In the end, I finally managed to slow down. I started to read slowly again, appreciating each word of the book I’d chosen, I opened my laptop and wrote, I stared at the waves hoping to stay longer. I breathed.
It wasn’t easy at all but eventually I realised that it was ok to stare at the sea doing nothing at all. It was ok even to choose not to do anything at all for an hour or so. That helped me to reconnect to my self that is not the me-doing-things self, it is a much deeper me that lies unexpressed until I choose not to ignore it. I’m no expert but to me it sounds like a very light form of meditation: you understand who you truly are when you do nothing at all, you stop thinking about where you come from or what you are going to do next and just stare at the waves.
For a moment, I even stopped thinking about work.
That is the memory I want to bring with me to London: the sound of the waves, the color of the sea and the breeze in my hair. The familiar chatting of my sisters, the fresh croissants my father bought each morning, the strolls along the beach with my mom.
Sometimes all I need to do is to go back to all these small rituals in such lost spots on planet Earth, far away from big cities or fancy places, just to remember who I am, observe my life from an external point of view and understand what to do next.
What about you, how do you chill and recharge your batteries?