As the Covid-19 lock down begins slowly lifting these few weeks, life is returning to a new normal. People leave their houses with masks on, restaurants begin to let in customers (with social distancing measures, of course), and the streets begin to fill with people and vehicles. With these going on outside my bedroom window, I begin to wonder: Is life going to continue whizzing by, leaving us who live in urban cities breathless, like it did before?
For many across the globe, the three months or so of lock down forced us to slow down, to deal with ourselves without the distractions of modern lifestyles. I was grateful to have a roof over my head, food on the table, and a loving family (whom I had tiny arguments with now and then due to living in such close proximity with one another). Other than that, I completed my second semester of university and was face to face with zero plans. My travel plans came to a halt, my part- time job stopped and government restrictions prevented everyone from going out except for purchasing essentials. In other words, I was forced to deal with myself, my toxic headspace and its own bullshit.
My default reaction in the first two weeks of lock down was to fill up my time with ‘productivity’. I had five things on my To- Do list: complete 2 Coursera courses, master a series of yoga inversions, drop five kilos of body fat I had slowly accumulated over the past semester, learn a new language and look for an internship. While I did tick off some of the boxes, I was struggling with these thoughts at the back of my mind too: What is the purpose of this? What is the point of accumulating accomplishments, always chasing after ‘more’, always feeling ‘not enough’? Even during a global pandemic, I had turned it into a productivity contest! These words by one of my favourite Youtuber, Kalyn Nicholson, cannot be more apt:
When you equate your value with your accomplishments, you push yourself to do the most in an attempt to feel some sort of permission to love and enjoy who you are and your life.Kalyn Nicholson
To quote her again, ‘go 50 in your own lane’. Before the pandemic, globalisation, capitalism and consumerism had forced us to complete more, compete more, and fill up our time and energy with materialistic objects. We were rushing about life like a bunch of crazies and pushing ourselves to the limit. We no longer appreciate what we already have but instead focused on what we lack. For many, quality relationships and self-awareness were thrown aside for impressive portfolios on LinkedIn and money. While there is nothing wrong with this mindset and lifestyle, I no longer want that for myself.
Go 50 in your own lane. Life for me is no longer a list of accomplishments, but a collection of moments in which I can proudly say I have lived them at my own pace, in my own way.