This modern world prizes productivity. We need time to pause. To be idle. To choose the longer road.
I read a little post the other day on social media. A father insisted on driving his daughter to a far-off train station – a two-hour trip. He could have dropped her off at their local station. And while doing so would have saved time, it would have meant losing the time with his daughter. Time to talk, just the two of them, away from the distractions of work and entertainment. Time to just spend in each other’s company.
Couldn’t we all do with choosing the longer road sometimes? To choose to spend time with someone we love, or on something we love? Time to cook a meal from scratch. Time to sketch a portrait, read a book or do a jigsaw. Time to walk in the woods. To sit on the beach. To soak in the bath.
We talk with pride about how busy we are. How much we’ve accomplished in just 24 hours. When we have time to pause, we can end up feeling guilty. We pull ourselves off the sofa to do the dishes or fold the laundry. We pull out our phone to send an email. We must stay productive.
But that state of constant busyness isn’t healthy for our minds or bodies. It can make us feel overwhelmed, drained, on edge. We start to resent the demands on our time.
Sometimes, the more we try to fit in, the less we do. We become paralysed by our to do list.We need to reclaim some of our time, which means being prepared to give more of it to non-productive (but often more important) activities.
To do so means saying no. No to having a perfectly clean house. No to a work deadline. No to meeting friends if we don’t have the energy to give to them.
But it also means saying yes. We need to give ourselves permission to just pause. To be idle. We need to say yes to the new book. Yes to that afternoon nap.
Yes to taking the longer road.