My day begins early. In the same way, usually everyday. Other days, even earlier. Seasons melt, days stretch and nights linger but the chores remain the same.
A few years ago, I used to etch for a vacation to center myself after the errors of boredom would creep in, taking away my focus and interest. Those were the days when routine used to wean into a foreign visitor whose language was alien and aggressive. I, always, at those moments stayed kind to myself, demanding a vacation, a brief interlude to be back into the person, I really am. And it used to help.
Then I lost my job. It happened several times. After every few months. And there went my boredom out of the window with the anxiety of settling into new places and people; to say goodbyes to some who’d become good friends and the empty intervals in between spent endlessly on job sites matching my skill set or filing unemployment claims. Habits formed and dissolved. I started things and left them hanging in mid-air. Unread books, unfinished stories, unattended bookmarks went deep into the pothole of to-do items that were always flooding with new benefits, homework assignments, large laundry piles, cooking and cleaning tabs. Distractions went sideways, colliding with regular life that was changing lines without indicators. I struggled, I panicked. I contemplated I was not designed for this. I longed for my previous days at home – those empty volumes of time when I leisurely cleaned my kitchen cabinets in the afternoons, took small naps, cooked with a smile on my face and folded clothes feeling the smell of my family underneath it.
But I could not retreat. Jobs are difficult to find and I wasn’t in the mood of giving up a steady income simply because of my inability to manage my life. So one day, while I was rushing to start the washer and ruminating on how to improve, a small voice in my head asked me to slow down and my hands paused momentarily following its instructions. Pick each cloth, it said – inspect it for a second and then insert into the open washer; soak it in, feel the warmth of water, the bubbles of soap and exhale your restlessness in it. Don’t worry, it will not take longer than how you are doing now.
Since then, I have adjusted my bearings. I have traded off quantity with quality. And I have realized the pockets of bliss floating under the mediocre clouds of routine life. I enjoy travel and vacations but no longer do I long for them as I used to. Instead, in between chores, even for five minutes, I walk outside and sit in my backyard at any time of the day. I gaze at my aging fence; I smile with the overheard laughter of kids from other side; I sense the tranquil sky beneath the random jet streams and I watch Buddha’s meditating pose as the crazy world goes on in the background.