Life has really slowed down for me in the last couple of weeks. I’m days off being 40 weeks pregnant (waiting, waiting…..). I have been on maternity leave for just over a month now and it feels fantastic to have used the first 3 weeks of my maternity leave to put to bed household projects that have been lurking for ages (tax return, updating our address book, making curtains etc…etc…) as well as getting things ready for the baby (we haven’t gone OTT with this but nonetheless it is surprising how much stuff needs to be planned, done or got!). The result of all this was that I started my leave at the beginning of December with a long job list and which has got shorter and shorter and – for the first time in years – has only got nice things left on it (you know, creative projects like sorting out photos!).
What I did discover in the first 4 weeks of my leave was that busyness is not just a state of practical affairs (what needs to get done by when) but also a state of mind. It has taken me 4 weeks of leave to get busyness out of my system. Even as my job list was shrinking away to non-existence, I found that I still felt that same sense of rush, pressure to do stuff and that feeling the need to jump straight from one task to the next. Then it struck me one day that the busyness of what really needed to be done and the busyness in my head were two totally separate things.
I have lived for years as a very ‘busy-headed’ person and slowing down is alien to me. But I am finally achieving it (in good time too, because I understand that little babies and high levels of output and productivity don’t really go together!). One thing that has helped me enormously was getting a book out of the library called In Praise of Slow by Carl Honore’ (see my book list under “Soulful Life” page). I actually got it out in October and have been renewing it repeatedly (at first, I didn’t have time to read it! Ha ha! And now I am reading it sllooowwwly!) It is fantastic – all about how a worldwide movement is challenging our modern day addiction to doing more, faster and in less time. I thoroughly recommend it.