We spend our lives running up and down, making sure we’re always busy. Like being busy validates our existence. Like we should be ashamed with ourselves and with our lives if we take a moment to pause. We are being told to push our boundaries and to feel proud of turning into workaholics. And we are being taught to constantly want more, more, and more. The reason is perhaps one that has to do with what society has been persuading us to believe. That is, having more will open a door to happiness. But even when we get what we want, we still don’t have enough. We never have enough. And, eventually, we come to realize that piling up material things does not translate into happiness. Or, if it does, it’s ephemeral. And so, our wish list continues to grow endlessly in search of that promised happiness.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s good to push our boundaries, as long as we do not forget where we come from, where we are heading, and who we are. And there’s nothing wrong about wanting things or having them. We all have needs and passions and experience temptations to which we give in. We’re only humans. But having for the sake of having, compulsively gathering things in hopes of filling up empty spaces in our lives, is not only wrong. It’s useless. And it’s painful. Equally, pushing ourselves into a never stopping carousel is more than unhealthy. It’s mad. Our body needs to step outside the carousel. And so does our mind.
The past weeks have been nothing but tough. Our life the way we knew it got interrupted unexpectedly one day. An avalanche of scary information poured in from countless sources. Real and fake reports flooded our social media walls, our newsletters, and our minds. Some of us believed them, some others didn’t and many of us did not know what to believe anymore. Then, at some point in time, many of us decided to stop reading the news.
In many places across the planet, people were placed in quarantine or asked not to leave their homes. We were told to turn to those things we have worked for hardly and to enjoy the comfort of our homes. But those things we have been piling up for years proved to have no magic powers. Fancy apartments, designer furniture, and wardrobes stuffed with clothes of all sorts did not make us happy. I am 36 and never in my life, have I been through anything close to this. Never in my life, have I heard so many people complaining of boredom and unhappiness. Many people were forced outside the carousel and they did not know there was life outside of it. The quarantine may have locked us in our homes, but it never prevented us from living.
I am. It’s such a simple statement and yet it carries so much meaning. Because I am is not only about physically being here. “I am” is about having all our senses awaken, it is about enjoying ourselves first and about feeling comfortable in our skin. “I am” is equally about embracing the solitude as it is about embracing the companionship. “I am” bears in its deepest roots our dreams and the freedom to achieve them. “I am” it’s never about having too much time and not knowing what to do with it.
There is no need to spin in the carousel to justify our existence. It may fight boredom, but it will also make us lose track of who we are and it will tear us apart from our inner selves. I picture it as a loud bang that prevents us from hearing our thoughts and needs. A bang that goes on and on and when it stops the silence turns scary. After all, is that we need to be entertained at all times to feel alive? These days, some of us may have more time than ever and we could use it to just be.