Two years ago I made a lifestyle change by quitting my work-from home job, after committing four years of my life to it, and joining a full-time position at a physical office a half an hour drive away from where I live. I wrote about it, as well as other changes I brought about and embraced in my life, earlier here. For me, it was undoubtedly a big change.
Over the two years since, I felt that my lifestyle took on a downward bend. I was sleeping late, sleeping badly, waking up multiple times through the night. I was, as a result, getting out of bed late. With working parents leaving for work early, I was having the entire house to myself. I was lazing around the house, making my own breakfast–not quite the big deal everybody makes it, something I’ve been doing for a long while–watching TV in between, and getting ready to leave for work. I was coming to work late–which because of flexible timings at work was never a deterrent–and therefore leaving work late. Consequently, the lifestyle I had quietly slipped into was leaving me with no time to do anything else.
I accepted it as the way life was. Routine is just that. Once you settle into a routine, you accept it and refuse to believe there may be something wrong. That is how a major portion of your life is spent, following a routine day in, day out, unfalteringly. I accepted I had become a zombie and didn’t find any reason to complain. I saw no meaning in life. Ultimately, a zombielike routine for a life that held no meaning sounded perfectly alright to me.
I had the power to change it, but inertia lulled me to the dull satisfaction of that life. Why bother adjusting the cogs when they were moving mechanically in stride. Why bother risking bringing chaos into the otherwise imagined order and comfort of the system.
That was worrying. I was wrong. I had to do something.
And so, I started with the little steps. You hear about people dealing with addictions and habits either gradually or by cutting them off completely in one fell swoop. I felt, for me, the patient but determined approach was more likely to yield results.
Starting last month, I have been making a concerted push to change bits and pieces of my lifestyle. I wake up, and get out of bed, without fail between seven and half past seven in the morning–which is two to two and half hours earlier than what I had spoiled myself by allowing the luxury of. Whether sleepy, tired, regardless of how late I slept, I do it. Unfailingly.
I walk out for a wee bit, taking in the crisp and sometimes damp air. Notwithstanding how sultry the weather mercilessly is, the mornings are always brisk to some extent. And quiet.
I take my breakfast early too. The want of lazing time away has now been replaced by a need for doing things with some urgency. That gets me going.
Instead of getting into work around noon, I walk in around half past nine when the office is mostly empty, quiet and calm. No din of stand-alone fans, no annoying variable pitched voices chattering about. The overwhelming feeling of emptiness of space makes itself felt strongly. And the endearing quietness. For a month I have not failed to notice them. Not failed to appreciate them.
Instead of leaving work when the world was getting ready to put an end to their day, I leave work behind early at the end of the evening. I leave when the world outside is still naturally aglow and make it a point to appreciate it every evening. It allows me ample time to do what I will with it. I am home early to spend time with family. I hit the courts early to play when I feel like. I have sufficient time to go out with family for groceries and other activities that I apathetically shrugged away before.
Reading in the morning after coming to work is pleasant and distraction free. A fresh shower and a smooth drive to work, by avoiding taking chocked routes, do wonder to the mind. I feel brisk from the mornings till late afternoons. I can read more without loss of focus–if not the dwindling absence of it. I can write without friction. My mind actively takes on the day’s array of work.
It’s not all lovely though. I feel tired and devoid of sleep. I still don’t sleep well–but I believe that has deeper roots. I fall asleep easily because I’m too tired by the end of the day. My stark stance of not finding meaning in life hasn’t been affected, although I doubt very much that such a metaphysical complication can so much as be cured by a change in lifestyle.
It’s merely the beginning of it. That I feel the fruit of this gradual process, never minding the scars and the mud sticking on the surface of it, I feel motivated to push it further.