I had paved over all the quiet spaces and didn’t know it. The appearance of any open space was a call to action: get in there and pave it over with activity and noise. A cancelled event on the calendar was quickly filled again with something new. An unexpectedly long line at the grocery store was an ideal opportunity for a quick email. Stuck, stopped dead in traffic? great, squeeze in an overdue phone call. Kill that ‘dead time’. Maximize every second. At all costs stay on top of things — ‘don’t ever get behind’ a colleague had once advised — there’s no time to make it up.
Then I retired. What happened? Lots of new space opened up in the landscape. I was oh so proficient and oh so efficient, not to mention running at such an oh so fast pace, that the paving just continued unabated. The new spaces were once again quickly paved over with new projects and activities.
Then I paved over one one of those open spaces with a new activity called meditation. What happened? Hmmm … well … let me see …
… not sure that much of anything happened … at first, that is. Then, at some point, I realized I had stopped playing those space filler, addictive games on my iPhone like Words with Friends, Scramble, etc. My appetite for those simply dried up. Can’t explain it.
Since then, I’ve noticed other habitual space fillers dropping out of the picture more and more. The usual suspects, like car radio, Facebook black hole episodes, continuous smart-phone activity, etc. don’t seem to have the same hold over me anymore. Can’t explain it.
I’ve even caught myself patiently waiting in line at the grocery store, simply peacefully watching the world around me. Or calmly waiting for a formerly excruciatingly long traffic light to turn green. Very weird. Can’t explain it.
Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked “hey, wait, when did that happen?!” … “when did my hair turn grey?”. I’m examining these subtle shifts away from such a frenetic pace and wondering “hey, wait, when did that happen?!” I’m still the old recognizable to-dos-driven-jam-packed-calendar me, but there is a new glacier-paced change afoot. It feels like a blanket of calm sometimes settles over me. Can’t explain it.
Was it meditation, or just the eventual post-retirement impact? Not sure, but I’m sticking with the meditation for now, just in case that’s the secret.