But what if moments of quiet are actually productive? Moments where we are just being quiet, thoughtful, "lazy" and relaxed. I've learned that lives left to busyness are generally lives striving for stress. Stress should not be the goal. We shouldn't aim to demonstrate heroic feats of achievement. Rather we should experience life in a balance seeking peace, equilibrium and awareness. This isn't to say productivity is bad, in fact it's great, but are we really truly productive when we are just "busy" or are will just short on time?
So this leads me back to why I have neglected writing. I have been busy. Or at least as busy as I'm comfortable being. As I may, or may not have written about before I was completing my nutrition certification (I wrote my final exam and submitted my case studies at the end of April). This past 15 months have taken an inordinate amount of time reading, studying, completing assignments, attending classes and workshops. I had to learn to be a student again, no small feat for someone that hasn't attended a university in 24 years. This has been coupled with my wife's decision to leave work and pursue a run for MLA (a Canadian provincial political election) which dominated our family time, energy and frankly financial capacity. For two months from March to Election Day May 9th she worked on average 12 hours a day, as she took a leave of absence from work. Ultimately she lost in the election, but I was so incredibly proud of her and impressed by her strength. These two things (the election and school) strained my time, mental and physical energy. I have never, not even during marathon training, both slept so heavily and erratically in my life. This while maintaining a family life, two jobs and some semblance of a training schedule.
By not beating my chest at the accomplishment of being busy, I was able to get through the past two months relatively fine. I managed to get some runs in, cycle, go to yoga classes, spend family time and even have a 10 day vacation with my daughter in Montreal and Ottawa. These leisure pursuits were more productive than any of the things I gave up.
Probably my reduced running schedule as I finally seemed to have overcome my plantar fasciitis (let's hope) helped me to treat my training as a restful experience rather than an athletic one. My runs during the busy time were aimed at recovery and I cycled more than I ran. Since I've signed up for the Victoria Marathon in October and the Whistler Gran Fondo in September I'll start training again soon, but I now have the time and energy for the task. I also have the time to write. So you should see posts here more often, and who knows maybe I'll dust off that book I've been writing for two years.
This entire post hasn't been about my return to writing. Nor has it been an apology for neglecting the site. Rather I wanted to point out that occasionally we need to take stock of our lives and accept that our energy flows in and out naturally as life events happen. There is no medal to be won from being busy. Nobody will remember you after you die for your heroic schedule. When you arrive at times in your life when stress is high and time is short try and look at it as an opportunity to rethink how you fill the gaps in your day. Maybe during those times it's more important that you exercise less, cook simply, temporarily drop one of your hobbies all in the name of better sleep, more downtime and keeping some stillness in your life. Then when someone asks you how you are you can respond with something better than a one word answer.