Right. We are well into the New Year and it’s been all about my recent operation so far. On Jan 5th, I had surgery for endometriosis and to remove my swollen fallopian tubes. Might not sound like the best way to start the year, but you could also say that I was prioritising my health, so what better way is there to start the year?
Seeing as how I focus on mental health topics on this blog, I guess I will keep the gory details of the surgery and endometriosis aside.
Because this is a major surgery, I was given the licence to chill for at least 2 weeks, before getting back to “work”. If we are talking exercise, that would be at least 2 months’ absence.
So, doc gave me the licence to chill. But, did I?
Well, I suppose I did… for all of 5 glorious days, 3 of which were in hospital where I alternated between dozing off and watching Emily in Paris.
(I rewatched the whole season later at home, because the drugs made me drop off every 5 minutes when I was in hospital. Or maybe it was the show.)
After a couple of days back home, once the tiredness had dissipated, my beautiful brain started buzzing again.
“I really need to write a January post on the Not A Pretty Picture blog.”
“Oh, my last IG post for The Diva Eats Prata was on 1st Jan, goodness, it’s been 10 days already, I really should.”
“I need to follow up on a quote that I had sent to my client for work. I can’t have them thinking I’ve disappeared.”
Were just some of the thoughts that infiltrated my monkey mind.
As soon as the drugs wore off, the existential expectations kicked in. Overwhelming myself with all that I must be doing.
I must chill to the best of my abilities.
My obsession with squeezing everything out of each minute means that even deciding what I am going to do to chill has to be the “best” option.
If I am going to watch The Hook-up Plan on Netflix, I better do it when I am most awake in the PM so that I can absorb some French along the way.
If I am going to write an article, it better be one of great value to my readers. Never mind that this is a personal blog, I can’t simply share my personal experiences without spending hours researching a topic, right?
If I’m going to design the cover art for my band, Buddha in the Balcony’s new album launch, I better find more options to the design we had already agreed on.
So much so for inducing stress even on what should be the most fun activities, huh?
I think I spend too much time planning. Every decision becomes such a thing with me. Even how we should cook the chicken in the airfryer becomes a research topic costing me an hour, at best.
And what about which restaurant I should go to for my first meal out, post-surgery? I don’t want to go to the same places again, because I need to go somewhere new so I can get content for my food blog. But I also want some assurance that it’s good, so I have to gobble up all the reviews out there first.
All this research and planning, when it’s been barely 2 weeks since my discharge from hospital for a major surgery.
Anyway, it got me thinking, why is it so difficult for some of us to just chill? Our bodies appear to be doing those relaxing activities, but in our minds, we’re already on to the next action item, aren’t we?
Why we so like that?
Here’s my unscientific theory. (This time, I am not going to spend days researching about this.)
1. Addicted to achievement.
It’s in our DNA to keep achieving greater heights, no? Can’t we settle for what we have already done? Oh, hell no! What a scary thought.
It’s true, though. If we just sat on our bums and didn’t seek improvement, it’ll all go to shit, right? But I guess, it’s knowing that you don’t have to be 100, 100% of the time.
If we give ourselves chillout time, we should be prepared to just fully relax and “waste” that time.
2. If only… and it will be like…
Can we recognise that we could have a meaningful and happy life, right now? And that it is not always something that we will find in future if we do ABCDEFG.
This is just BEING in the NOW. My meditation sessions have taught me the importance of Practice. Simply knowing is not enough, constantly bringing yourself back to the present, reminding yourself, is important.
3. Your expectations or mine?
Sure, in life, there are real expectations on you. But in my case, 90% of the time, they are the expectations I put on myself. How about you?
Say you’re a recognised food writer. Friends ask for where to celebrate their anniversary. If you make a bad recommendation, that’s the end of the world, your reputation is forever sullied.
Or maybe you’re a devoted member of your religious organisation, the one everyone goes to for planning events. You’re not feeling like this year’s festivities, but if you don’t plan it, what will they think? Are you going to lose your status as MVP?
It’s like too much attachment to your identity that you fear losing if you don’t meet people’s expectations.
So after all that, what’s my point?
(Technically, in the spirit of the article, there really shouldn’t be any grand points but old habits die hard.)
I think, in the New Year, those of us afflicted with the inability to really chill, can try this:
- We don’t need to justify our existence the way we think we do! Seriously, the ones who care about us aren’t going to define and judge us by what we DO.
- Forget FOMO, try JOMO. Find the Joy Of Missing Out. Skip that family gathering in favour of store-bought sushi and Netflix. And while you’re at it, just watch whatever strikes your fancy, instead of spending the next 30 minutes scrolling the recommendations. Don’t worry, even if you spent 30 minutes watching something inane, you can just stop and reset. Your world did not end.
- Enjoy the JOURNEY in whatever you are doing. Try not to obsess about the end result, how amazingly effective and efficient you were, but rather, take that extra time, make those mistakes, run around a little in circles… Just Chill.
Well, I suppose that’s the end of my rambles for the day and this is my way of saying have a chilled, balanced 2022 ahead!