All of my life I have been too busy. Too busy to notice that I had a choice in my busyness. I had instead gotten on a conveyor belt of “I have to’s” and “I should do’s,” showing up at the airport each week fully packed out of a rote set of tasks that I no longer had to even think about, I just did. Monday 4AM alarm, by 5:10AM in line at airport security, by 5:20AM in the lounge having tea. And on and on the routine went, each Monday, every other day was similar, the routine may have changed a bit, but every Tuesday looked like every Tuesday before it for the most part and on and on it went.
I never stopped to ask myself why am I really here, am I leaving to avoid my life? Am I going to that office because those people see value in me? Why am I doing what I am doing? Is it because I am choosing this, consciously making this choice?
What would I choose to do if it were truly up to me? During this pandemic, I have finally slowed down enough to begin to question my life and in that process, it finally occurred to me that I have been unconsciously making choices all along. You can imagine my “DUH” moment to get this far in life and finally have that sink in. At that moment I felt like my life had been driven by some external force, now clearly I realize that is not the case but when one comes to terms with the fact that they have been packing their life so full to the point that they get consumed by the doing of it all that they go unconscious to their own part in the decision making aspect of it, well frankly in that moment I felt pretty out of touch with my own life.
In that moment, I realized that I don’t have to do anything that I don’t choose to and what I do choose to do I must recognize that it is actually my choice to do it.
All of my life, I have been too busy to notice that I have a choice that I can actually drive my life and not allow someone or something else to take the wheel whether it was taken because the seat was empty or more likely perhaps because that little at a time, bit by bit I allowed the list of things I “must” do to get so long, filled with items that I had said yes to. All I could focus on was trying to get that list done, catch up, I would tell myself, “someday I will catch up enough to take a break.” That never happens, the only way to fix this problem is to question what is getting on the list in the first place. What am I saying yes to and why? Who am I saying yes to and why? Is how I am spending my time reflecting what I feel is the most essential thing in my life? Am I saying yes to too much, even now?
Today, thanks to this pandemic and things in my life being run from home, I have the benefit of a little more time, no commutes and all. Each morning I am now taking a longer period to move into my day, allowing more time for meditation and breathe work before I then plan the things I want to get done in my day. Each Sunday, I am reviewing my week and blocking out available slots in my calendar, around meetings if I must but I am blocking out 2 hours of each day to get items on my “list” done. By identifying my top 3 things that I want to get done in a day these items will get worked on in that block of time, then if there is time left I can tackle other items on my list but I am only committed to that top 3 also known as my BAMs (Big A** Minimums).
This is how I am staying at choice in my day by questioning how I am spending my time, by prioritizing my self-care out of the gate in the morning, making sure that I block out working time so I can stop my work day when I want to not when the work gets done because as we all know there will always be one more thing on the list that could be done.
Being in choice, evaluating things consciously while still not entirely easy, it does feel easier right now from my home bound nest. At some point I want to be able to navigate taking this on the road without losing consciousness to it, never again do I want to be unaware of the choices that I am actually making. I am committing to practicing whether my “Yes” is really a Yes or should it really be a No, thank you. I am finding this to be a profound practice to apply to all areas of my life.
What will you say yes or no to this week? It is your choice.