Maturity is knowing the volume knob goes to the left.
The current pandemic held us as hostages in our own homes. And while many believe that this forced vacation is an ideal time to upskill or get back to the simpler ways of life. Where we cooked delicacies, instead of ordering in, we are painted instead of going to the mall.
But we all know this is a temporary scenario – a pause button so to speak.
But given this additional time at our disposal, it has also forced us to re-evaluate what we want from our lives. Bring changes that can stay beyond this pandemic.
I am certainly looking at it like that.
And most of us are beginning to think and question, do we really need the unnecessary paraphernalia? Isn’t a good life possible even with fewer things?
We have always believed that bigger is better, faster is better and more is better.
Modern life has made us believe all of the above. But please don’t get me wrong – everything has its pace. And place. Faster can mean better. Sometimes even necessary.
However, continued speed can rob our lives of meaning, of purpose and of joy.
A slower pace does not mean a poorer life. In fact, it is a more enriched life.
If you intentionally slow down your life, you will realise that you would have made room for better health, better finances and better relationships.
I am going to enumerate in the subsequent paragraphs what slow and quiet life is (and isn’t) and how it can be achieved without moving.
What a quiet life isn’t ?
There are myths we associate with the term ‘quiet life’, and colour our minds with what it actually is.
A quiet life is goal-less and boring
When I was younger, the thought of a quiet life was boring and depressing to me.
I associated it with a sense of monotony and same-ness. Devoid of excitement and thrill.
Even as I grew older, the sense of busyness, goal oriented-ness and something to work towards kept me going.
As a person from Advertising, multitasking was a way of life. Crazy deadlines meant having my lunches over meetings or en route to a meeting.
Or speaking to someone on the phone and sending an email at the same time.
Somehow crossing off things in my job-list was the goal, thinking it would make me feel better. But even after that, there was no sense of rest. The mind still kept racing.
One day, we had a Brainstorming session wherein we had to think of ideas for one of our Clients. I could not contribute a single idea.
I just couldn’t get my mind to imagine or be think creatively. I was blank. That was a wake-up call.
I used to think of myself as creative, but then in that session, I was brain dead. It felt miserable and I sulked the entire day.
I spent the next couple of days brooding. It was time to wake up the right sight of the brain.
I started doing one job at a time.
If anyone called, while writing an email, I picked up and said I would call back, and I would. I started delegating and de-prioritising some tasks.
Single-tasking helped me improve the quality of my thinking. There was room for more ideas. I started improving at my work.
Now as life advanced, I do even fewer tasks during the day. Is it goal-less? Absolutely not. I have great plans for my blog. Is it boring? Far from it… because I am doing things I love more than ever.
A quiet life is living in the country-side or farmhouse.
Coming from a mega metro, and having travelled within the country, I have always thought that living outside any mega-metro is a blessing.
Devoid of traffic, constant urgencies, absence of rudeness and just people stopping to make eye-contact is such a welcome change. Places like Goa, Dehradun, Vadodara have a nice, pleasant pace and vibe. But can we just drop everything and relocate?
People close to me have done it. Just dropped everything and relocated to a quaint towns in West Bengal. Do I want to do that? Probably. Will I like it? I am not sure.
Is a quite life not possible in a mega metro. My conclusion is that yes it can.
Geography does not determine the pace of your life.
Quiet life is about choosing a pace. Yes, the city and your ambience lends to it.
But it is as much an internal journey which can be had without moving lock-stock and barrel.
When we have bills to pay, children to rear, do we have the luxury to spend on a multi-acred farmhouse?
A Quiet life is about exercising mindful choices.
A quiet life is sought by retirees
We imagine that between the ages of 20 to 60, our life is ridden with working for ourselves and children. And only those who have retired from work seek it after having led a fast and hectic life.
My Dad was one of them. He worked very hard in making ends meet. He was a peoples person and he enjoyed his social life too. But as he aged, he hankered for the quiet life. He often spoke about relocating to his hometown, to his roots and live a happy life there.
But, when it actually came to it, he went to live in his small hometown in West Bengal.
Fact is, he returned in 7 days. He just couldn’t tolerate the slowness. He was so attuned to the pace he had built for himself in Mumbai and so used to the culture that he couldn’t relate to the culture he once left behind. He said it was too much effort to adapt.
Is this what a culture shock is? I think so…
But on the flip-side, I have also known friends who have quit high-paying careers in their mid-thirties and pursued a vocation of their choice to determine their own pace.
A friend finally got to a point where he could afford his own home. Instead of getting it in a prime location, which he could very well afford, he chose a smaller town and moved there with his family. He has a bigger home with a garden and a porch and his parents and wife are super happy living there.
What exactly is A Quiet Life
- A life with a proper pace
Now that I have debunked some myths associated with a quiet life, I think it is time for me to explain what I make of it.
Given that we live life in a metro with our fast lives and EMIs, can we just drop everything and go to the other end of the spectrum. Will we be able to handle it?
How will our family members receive it?
Seeking a quiet life is about determining your pace of life.
- A life of quality
A pace that works and makes room for an improved quality of life. After a point in my life, I decided that I wanted to hard-close work at 7 pm. It is brutally shutting down my laptop.
It is forcing myself and my colleagues to switch off. I imposed a rule of not working on weekends.
I realized after a point, that my team was doing better.
Is it possible in a high-pressure life of Advertising? It most definitely is.
And seeking a life of quality does start with a bit of introspection – a weighing of what we want to retain and what you want to wean off.
A qualitative life should allow you to pursue your hobbies, learn new things and make a living at the same time.
- Quitting ‘neighbour’s envy’
We realise that life is not about competition. How many times have we spent on something because someone at work or neighbourhood has bought into it? When we give up this insane competition of buying things, and keeping up with the Joneses mindset, we relieve ourselves a ton of pressure.
We don’t really have to keep up with them and win their envy. Being happy and appreciative of what we have is what matters.
It is also called giving up the ‘scarcity mindset’. Shifting focus from what we don’t have to what we have is a great way to build gratitude and having a sense of fulfillment.
You might realise that a lot of people don’t have what you have, and life will feel a lot more enriched, just like that.
- Staying with A few good friends
We realise that our friends are those chosen few with whom we enjoy meaningful conversations. Those who understand our wavelength. We realise that filtering out unimportant and negative people simplifies our life to a great extent.
Stay with a small circle of good and close friends.
- Mindful Consumption
I detest excessive consumption. Hankering for everything latest and new is not only an unnecessary expense but also keeps us debt-free.
Curtailing Social media and news will lead to increased contentment.
We have all been so used to the notion that bigger is better, that faster is better. These vagaries of a modern life have made us more exhausted, frantic and we often find ourselves going around in circles.
But thinking before consuming is a great way to be mindful. Pause and ask what need I am fulfilling.
Most of us live privileged lives, where we don’t have to worry about our next meal, or what we are going to wear. Life is more than food, and body is more than what we wear.
I hope I have been able to trigger your thoughts towards the right direction.
You are the author of your life. You can write it the way you want to…
You can write to me too 🙂
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.