Never Too Busy

In a world that moves at an accelerated pace and glory is given to those who are perpetually busy, it is hard to come to terms with the oft repeated mantra Keep it simple. Somewhere in the haze of obligations and self-imposed , ambitious agendas, we have become a society that justifies its existence by how preoccupied it is. We are busy being busy.

It appears that busy people are also the electronically connected people. The busier one is, the more their time with a digital device. Face time has replaced face to face time. At the risk of sounding outdated, I have been picky about the technology I embrace. All my writing and filing is done on the computer. E-mails are my chief form of communications though I still deeply value the hand written note. I rarely text anyone but my daughter and almost never have my cell phone turned on. That last bit drives many crazy but my thinking is that I’m either home or I’m not. I prefer to have conversations without disruptions. When I’m not home, it is because I have other things to do and hence unavailable to take calls. Facebook and Twitter are mere platforms for the work I do and not to broadcast the minutiae of my life. In all honesty, if I got into all the social media available, I wouldn’t know how to find the time to read a book let alone hear myself think. This is not meant to be judgmental. I believe we each must know our own selves and our role in a community. I’m content with my limited association with technology. I simply feel no compunction to be in the thick of it all. I have no FOMO*! But what are we really saying about ourselves?

That we are not quite in charge of our lives? Or we are so important that we haven’t the time for more prosaic matters like watching the world go by? Perhaps it is how we indicate our success? Well, I for one have decided not to be too busy. What I truly want is to clear up my calender, free up my days and unclutter my life to be with those I cherish or do the things that matter most to me.

In order to make myself available to what is important, some things must be let go. We all take on more than our share simply because we want to be useful or because we don’t know how to say ‘no’. We start defining ourselves by the things we do and relieving ourselves of some of it feels as though we’re surrendering a part of our identity.

In my own quest to simplify and focus, this letting go is about becoming more of who I want to be and what I really want to spend time doing.

For purposes of this gardening-centered site, I’ll share what I’m aiming to do and not do in the garden this season. While certain aspects of my life demand greater attention this spring, other matters need to be postponed or adjusted. And still more obligations must be relinquished.

First and foremost, I gave up the idea of planning any big project in the garden. There are a couple of notions I was intending to try out but, I’m putting them on the back burner where they will simmer till the time is right.

This year, I am not going to start any seeds. This decision is a big one for me. I belong to that cadre of gardeners who take pride in doing most things from scratch. It is an arbitrary distinction and all in ones mind that ‘real gardeners’ must per force grow from seed. Not true of course but I had allowed myself to accept that belief. As easy as it is to grow from seed, it takes time, space and attention to successfully grow flats of annuals and vegetables. Since I have a few other events to prepare for, I will not stress myself by adding on the extra effort when I’d be just as satisfied to get the required flats of plants from the nursery. Hence, I will be free to put my mind where it is most needed.

Similarly, I am one who does not want to entirely automate the watering of plants. I like watering. For one thing, in the heat of summer, the water feels good as it splashes around. More importantly, when I water, I observe the garden and take note of what looks good, what weeds have crept in, insect activity, what is in bloom or fruit etc., However, as I will be away off and on, I’m going to have most of the watering on an automated system. It will give me peace of mind to know that the plants are not being neglected due to my hubris.

I will continue to weed regularly and do my best to not worry when I cannot. It’ll be okay. Due diligence will pay off with fewer weeds in general.

Whenever help of any kind is offered, I shall accept. Pride or a bid to express fierce independence is over-rated don’t you think? After all, what am I trying to prove?

While liberating myself to be more present for all that is scheduled to happen this spring will enrich my enjoyment of them. Including time spent in the garden.

And any time I find myself with nothing to do, I will simply sit and take in the gifts of nature. I’ll watch the grass grow, listen to the seeds explode from pods, smell the rising perfume of flowers as the day unfolds. I’ll track the flight patterns of bees and count the butterflies on the roses. I’ll follow the slow blushing of the apples. In not doing anything, I’ll have so much to keep my attention.

No, I will no longer be too busy. Instead, at any given time, I’ll be fully engaged in life. You see, I want to remember showing up.

* – Fear Of Missing Out

Rose arch
Tree house
Apple blossoms
Stone bench
(c)2015 Shobha Vanchiswar

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2 thoughts on “Never Too Busy

  1. Lovely column. And your choices of what to do – and what to relinquish – sound good. Thank you for teaching me what FOMO means. Dear god.

    • I didn’t know what it meant either. My mother, for all her lack of attachment to electronics is savvier that I am. 🙂 But I really like the point of this article; it definitely speaks to my generation!!!

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