There is all this talk about creating things, producing stuff, being famous, driving your life in a certain direction, making choices, breaking barriers, rising to the occasion, making the most of your education, earning, spending, earning some more and spending again and earning, only to get back in the cycle! No, this is not a rant about why and how to de-clutter, or make it simple or let go of what you can do with yourself.
At a time such as now, in the middle of a pandemic, most people have less to do. Some have nothing to do. And a new pressure seems to have set in – what will I say when the world asks me, “What did you do when you really could not do anything?” Hmmm… colleges want to know, your spouse wants to know, your neighbour wants to know, your neighbour’s mother-in-law wants to know… frankly, you’re dealing with a pandemic within a pandemic! The one’s who are documenting their lockdown stories all over social media, aren’t really helping your situation, and your binge buying on amazon prime sale is only making you look indulgent and guess what, very free – available (no not the kind on FB). They say, “Do something with yourself. Painting. Cooking. Gardening.” “Really, is the couch your new home now? Get an online gym instructor.”
No one says, “Just be.” Be you. Be now. Be present. Be. What is it with the world – what is it with existing? Perhaps the word itself.
I was talking to Annie the other day – she’s five. She shared with me why she was so eagerly waiting for her birthday – “coz, then I’ll be able to use both my hands to tell everyone that I’m six!” That’s so real, I thought.
An existential crisis is when we may find ourselves in a situation when we may stop breathing (for some it even happens when no one checks their Snapchat story… or their post on Instagram!) So, to not just exist, we do so much; to remind ourselves that we are not just breathing, we’re grooving, we’re jamming, we’re being productive. We find ourselves in a place where ‘to be or not to be’ is not a rhetorical question, it’s an existential implication.
Let’s get off the pressure. Go back to our thoughts as a nobody – a kid if you may. Grow unknowingly, but consciously; revealing unimpeachable love, care, hurt, instinctive wisdom – that is all we need. Let’s get together with family, read aloud our favourite passages, cry out leaving behind the facade we display, dance till our feet break, sing as if no one’s watching; let’s just ‘be’ before becoming.