We live in a society of excess. We have probably all, at one time or another, been to a really cool sports bar. You walk in the door and the air conditioning blasts in your face. The lights are bright and blaring. You are greeted by the over-exuberant host who talks a little too loud. You get to your table and notice that there are sixteen televisions broadcasting sixteen different sporting events, news shows or something else. The music is cranked so loud you can barely talk to the person across the table. You look through the nine-page menu trying to decide on what to eat. Then you see the small book that is the bar menu. It’s all so overwhelming in the name of fun.
To me, life is like that sports bar, full of excess and constant diversions. At places like that, you feel like you are mult-tasking. You can eat, drink, catch the latest scores, hear the news and catch up with friends all in one place. When I was younger that may have appealed to me but as I have gotten older I find I’m simply overwhelmed by the unnecessary noise, the constant activity, and having to yell to speak to the person across the table from me.
I’m learning to cherish the peace and calm of the world. I honestly do not need to be entertained that much. A good book and a cup of hot tea are a wonderful way to spend a day. Multi-tasking does not do for me what I want it to do. One would think that getting as much done in the span of a certain amount of time would give you more time to pursue other activities. But it never did for me. I only became anxious and exhausted. The two things I was trying to avoid.
I figured out that the never-ending to do list is really never ending. I always left some things undone and I did not feel any peace ever. I realize now that I was in a constant state of being overwhelmed. I was continually fretting about the future things that needed done while I completely ignored where I was in the moment. I kept myself so busy (aka entertained) that I became unable to stop and think of only one thing at a time. I literally thought I was losing my mind. While watching a movie, I would fold laundry, plan the next week’s menu, thought about what bills to pay next payday and any other number of tasks that were not necessary to do at the time. Then you could ask me about the movie I just watched and I could tell you nothing about it.
I was off in sports bar land totally ignoring my life. I thought if I kept so busy the worrying and fear would go away when in reality the overstimulation made those things worse. Then I found I could not sleep because the sixteen televisions in my head would never shut off. I was miserable.
Now I have decided to be more intentional in my actions. My house may not be spotless, but truthfully it never was even with my flurries of activity. I may not read five books at once just so I can check them off my list and not remember a thing about any of them. I want to be at peace without all the white noise and static that our world provides. I am planning to step back a bit, be more intentional and more about the current moment I am in. I no longer want to feel overwhelmed every minute of every day. Life is, honestly, too short for that.
I want to laugh more. I want to connect to others in person more. I want to enjoy little things more. I want to see beauty more. We all get so busy with all we have to do. I’m going to reassess my priorities again and see what excess I can get rid of. I need to learn to turn my mind off and drift into the sweet sleep I knew as a child. There are always going to be times in life where you have to be in high gear but it does not have to be everyday. My promise to myself is to truly find peace and learn to love life again, not just trundle through waiting for a better time to start living. I’m shutting off the theoretical televisions and the jukebox. I don’t need constant diversions anymore. I want to be at peace as much as I can.