Many of us struggle to manage our time. We are busy being busy or thinking about the very fact that we are busy. If we aren’t busy we are worried that we are not busy and so it goes on – a demanding lifestyle which can transform routines into flexible victims of the twenty-four hour clock. Weekends are no exception and these hours too now form part of the working week for many. But there is a lot to be said about taking time out when the opportunity arises. Slowing down not only gives a chance to recharge but also allows us to appreciate the small things in life, things we miss as we race towards a never ending finishing line.
Last weekend was a long weekend and we tried to book some time away at a resort in Gazipur – about an hour or two from Dhaka. It was not meant to be as all guest rooms were booked so we made an impromptu visit to Chittagong for a change of scene and some respite. We always stay with my in-laws and to be honest the timing was good as we had not visited the family for some time and were overdue a visit. Little did we know it was what we all really needed. A few days enjoying life at a slower pace gave us all a chance to rest and take stock.
Here are a few things we got up to;
Nina had a great chance to spend time with her Chittagong family, strengthening kinfolk bonds and improving her Bangla! Our family in Dhaka is very nuclear and we rarely get a chance to spend time with the extended family. We really forgot the importance of Nina enjoying time with her Aunts and cousins – something which is really taken for granted in Bengali culture where the family unit is extremely valued. Slowing down gave us all that time to connect again and for Nina to strengthen those ties to this arm of her family.
Engaging with nature
On this visit my Mother in Law had sourced some baby chicks with a view to starting up a family scale hatchery. A small cow farm is already in situ in our Chittagong home but with newly erected outhouses there is room to expand to provide for chickens and for basic egg farming. It was amazing to spend time with Nina seeing and taking interest in these baby animals for the first time – her fascination providing entertainment and reflection for all of us. In our busy lives we repeatedly miss these precious moments and it was a chance to engage in entertainment that did not involve modern technology. It was totally precious.
Needless to say we also enjoyed getting a chance to see some greenery made all the more enjoyable because it rained whilst we were there.
Time for us
We also valued the support of our family in taking care of Nina for a much earned break. My husband and I had a chance to relax together and also on our own or with friends making us realise that all too often being busy can make us lose touch with ourselves and our own needs. I was able to get most of the way through a novel and to write some very therapeutic material that had been on my own personal ‘to do’ list. I was also able to re-engage with my mindfulness practice which in itself is an aid to leading a more fulfilling life. Finally I had the chance to research some short courses to further my own learning, all in all my ‘time out’ became very productive ‘me’ and ‘us’ time.
Investing in sleep
Away from the hustle and bustle of Dhaka, Chittagong provided a silent retreat for rest and sleep. I can’t sleep anywhere like I can sleep in Chittagong and the corny saying that the ‘silence is deafening’ is certainly true here, tucked away in the hills of Chasma Pahar, East Nasirabad. Some mornings I did not open my eyes until midday leaving all of us feeling like we were in some strange time warp. Sometimes there is a lot to be said for taking things slow.
Chittagong is so laid back compared to Dhaka. This is partly due our own family circumstances where we have the convenience of financial sustainability through rental incomes and business ventures. In Dhaka my husband has to meet the timing requirements of his clients as a Barrister and businessman. But personal circumstances aside Chittagong sets its own slower pace which, I have heard is common amongst secondary cities and towns in Bangladesh. The slower pace is easy to adapt into and difficult to shake on return to the bustle of Dhaka. Once home I always feel like I have come back from a long international trip as if I’ve zoned out of reality – haha!
But there is something to be said about taking things slowly. Downtime gives us all a chance to rest and re-cooperate, to take stock and to appreciate. It gives us a chance to rethink, strengthen bonds and to focus in on all that we miss as our life flies by at an ever faster pace. It also gives us a chance to stand still, to reconnect with ourselves and our own needs which can so easily be neglected. Someone recently said to me ‘make the memories and keep them forever’ – sometimes we need to take time to make such memories and to carefully revisit them in all their glory. After all, for those non believers and agnostics amongst us, what else is life about if not embracing these precious moments, second by second, just as they are?!
There are things to be said about taking things slowly.