A little while back, I read an adorable book called The Little Book of Sloth Philosophy by Jennifer McCartney. While being one of the cutest ever books I’ve read, it also helped me learn a lot.
In the last few decades, a new herd of career-oriented people have arisen. If you observe the considerable number of posts that social media has to offer, you’ll notice a pattern where a lot of people are hustling hard and ticking off their long to-do lists. It’s like someone is screaming into our ears, “This is a race. Run faster, run harder. Don’t stop. No matter what.”
As you are reading this, observe your breath. Pretty sure you’re holding it back unintentionally. We’re all in the same boat, my friends.
Our achievements are vast while our breaths are shallow.
I’ve been the kind of person who loves to work. A lot, at that. Most days, I am always rushing around and trying to complete whatever I’ve planned to do that day. Yes, I’m one of those people in this “hustling hard” category. For the longest time, I prided over this fact.
Until I read this book. The book talks about sloths, the epitomes of living slowly and mindfully. Sloths are all about relaxing, unwinding and taking their own, sweet time to do their activities. These shaggy little creatures, despite not doing anything significant at all, taught me what it means to slow down.
This one line in the book hit me hard: “Part of slowing down and embracing the sloth philosophy is realising you don’t have to do everything or be all things to everyone. Being busy isn’t a badge of honour if you’re miserable.”
This may come across as a very peculiar thought. But, being lazy is challenging. How ironic indeed! We find it super difficult to sit still without doing anything remotely productive. For me especially, it would feel pathetic on days when I couldn’t accomplish whatever I wanted to. I would feel guilty for taking a few hours off and lazing around watching my favourite shows or reading an interesting book.
But there’s always scope for change, isn’t there? These days, I am trying to take things slow and letting myself NOT do something productive each waking hour. Of course, not to say that it’s a daily phenomenon, because well, we all have work to do. But sparing a few moments each week, at a minimum, to let myself just exist.
In one of my favourite movies, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) tells Naina (Deepika Padukone), “Main Udna Chahta Hoon Naina. Daudna Chahta Hoon, Girna Bhi Chahta Hoon. Bas, Rukna Nahi Chahta.” (English Translation: “I want to fly, I want to run, I want to fall too. I just don’t want to stop.”)
In another scene, Naina tells Bunny, “Jitna Bhi Try Karo, Kuch Na Kuch Toh Chhootega Hi. Isi Liye Yahin, Isi Pal Ka Maza Lete Hai.” (English Translation: “No matter how much we try, we will miss out on something or another. So why not enjoy the moment right now?”)
We cannot have it all, and that’s the truth. It’s time for us to let go of these invisible walls of “busyness”, slow down and enjoy life.
Ending this blog post with a beautiful acronym from the same book, S.L.O.W.
Sleep in. Leave your phone. Opt-out. What’s the rush?
After this book, the sloth definitely makes it to the list one of my favourite animals. 😁
Until next time, stay blessed!
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