‘Consider it handled’. What a stressful phrase. Yes I see your problem, I have already analysed the infinite ways that all of the infinite solutions could go wrong and yet I have determined that regardless, one of them will work and so I have already solved this’. Anything for a quiet life, right. But Olivia Pope doesn’t know what to do with a quiet life. She never does get to the bottom of that sold-out-the-world-over wine glass. ‘Yes, it’s on my list’ is not in her vocabulary. But it’s in mine and it’s probably in yours too.
I resolved to say ‘I’m busy’ less in 2015 – best laid plans, even if it is true – because us 20-somethings are always burning both ends and deprioritising on me time for any going out on the town time. When you are an item on your own list, you know you need a new system. It took me 3 months to book the Hilton Park Lane facial that I’ve just come from, and left so relaxed that when I sat up every vertebrae cracked a little. Self heating exfoliation scrub, extraction under steam, red berry scented mattifying mask, a hand massage! I would and have bought massages and beauty treats as gifts for others but it never occurred to me to gift to me until it was driven out of necessity. Well, 30 does approach.
We’re prone to overestimating our self importance and for us millennials it means burn out in a way that I don’t think previous generations felt. The slog was more manual; you can break from manual by stopping, however briefly. But mental engagement is passive permanence, the always on. We’re increasingly less active, less engaged and less productive. We take in information at basically the speed of light and all brands want to engage me, you, us even more when really, I just want everyone to stop talking to me so I can remember what I was supposed to be doing. I crave silence but I potter at home to a radio backdrop. I work with headphones in to survive the drone of an open plan office. I sleep with an eye mask and ear plugs but I rail against any suggestion of moving out of the city to where they keep the quiet, for fear that I’m too removed; that the silence would be overwhelming and oppressive; that I might consciously recognise that the constant noise which passively lulls me is merely a feature, not a requirement. Oops.
No other generation has had to manage that and as yet, neither can we. Because relaxing seems too indulgent. Switching off is hard. Sitting quietly seems like being forgotten, the world moving without us participating? A wasted moment.
You’re never too busy to sleep or to eat after all; necessity. Although you may at times be too busy for a text a friend (replying in your head doesn’t count) or to eat lunch before 3pm, but you will get to it: timely necessities. But I’m never too busy to not sleep in, to sneak a spoonful of something my diet says I shouldn’t, to stay up binge watching Scandal until 2am on a school night; absolute necessities, such opportunities for decompression. I’m never too busy for the things I really want to do and I’d hazard a guess neither are you so go ahead and take yourself off of the list. Just do you.