Today at lunch, despite the rain, I walked out of my office to grab a bite of something to eat. I told myself I wouldn’t bring my lunch back to eat in front of my computer. I needed a break from those Excel spreadsheet. I sat in this small all-in-one lunch place eating my bland udon noodle soup (one should never hope a place that serves salad, hot food, sandwich, udon, sushi, AND brick-oven pizza would be good, unless maybe Whole Foods).
I looked around me, and everyone looked either bored, miserable, or downright hate their lives. That energy is somewhat contagious, and it frightened me slightly. No wonder no one talks about the 9-5 lifestyle with excitement. Right there and then, I realized I will need to make a conscious effort to not get sucked into that horrible energy.
When I got back to my computer screen this afternoon, I was grateful to have taken two years of my life to see how people live elsewhere, to see how an entire society can exist without the corporate grind. I love what I do so far, and I spend more time daily thinking about Africa and its issues than I ever did during graduate school. I see the purpose of my 9-5, but I am awfully glad to have a bit of perspective.
When I left work today, my cell phone’s battery had depleted. It was a perfect chance to unplug for a little while. I switched the heels for flip-flops and began my stroll. I visited a bookstore for the first time in ages and bought my first copy of the Yoga Journal. The sun had finally come out after more than 24 hours of rain (I was beginning to think I am in London again for the summer). I walked across Central Park, went for a look around in Columbus Circle before heading home on the subway.
It was only two hours of walking around and being unplugged, but I wanted to check my phone many times. It made me realize just how plugged in I usually am. It felt good to unplug, even just for a little while in our busy lives. Maybe if we all take some time to unplug and instead, take some time for ourselves to reflect, and to live in the present a little more, then people wouldn’t look so bored/miserable?