For a while, everybody seemed (or gave the illusion of being) busy, busy. Ask someone how they were and the default answer had changed from the previously “Fine” to “Busy”. Even people who were lucky enough from choice to work part-time or not at all were rushed off their feet. Being busy was a status symbol, a badge of self-importance to be shared on Instagram, Facebook and all the other social media channels where we tell the world how wonderful our life is. Interestingly, the follow up question of “Busy doing what?” sometimes revealed that they were just busy being busy. Busyness had become a self-imposed lifestyle.
Gradually people seem to be moving away from the need to feel busy all the time and are slowing down to find time for the things that are important in their lives. Recently, I was on a speed awareness course where people said they broke the speed limit because they were always in a rush*. Interestingly being caught had changed some people’s ways; one man had subsequently reduced the number of business appointments he made each day and a woman on our table revealed that she now allowed longer to travel to work instead of her previously optimistic hope of a journey free from traffic jams.
In the Barley Barn, many of the people who come onto the printing courses are not necessarily coming to learn printing techniques but are taking time off work to be creative in a quiet space away from the hustle and bustle. The making and doing in a beautiful and quiet setting can be more important to them than the finished article that they take home.
Similarly, the yoga studio in one of our barns is amazingly popular and their meditation days are booked out well in advance. Many of the participants have commented that they start to unwind as soon as they turn into the farm entrance and find yoga more calming in a quiet space overlooking the pond and green fields than when they attend classes in the local community hall. I suspect they haven’t yet witnessed the ducks doing what ducks do in spring, which doesn’t fit in too well with the whole peace and love vibe.
This past week, a combination of wet and windy weather, the end of the financial year and the younger generation trying to put their stamp on the business has meant that my normally quiet space in the farm office has been invaded by the “farm boys”. Believe me, farm boys have no office etiquette and instead of drinking my morning coffee at my desk, I’ve escaped to a quiet space at the kitchen table and sat alone with my coffee looking out of the window. Rather like switching off and on a temperamental appliance to make it work, this has been enough to let me return to the office to answer their questions, find the bits of information they need, show them how the erratic photocopier works and get on with my own tasks without shouting at them or muttering under my breath about ineptitude, farting and talking loudly when some people are trying to add up figures.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a busy afternoon ahead with the Cocktail Tasting Team.
Do you have a quiet space where you get away from everything?
Would this help?
*I didn’t feel the need to share with the rest of the course participants that I was caught speeding because I was so excited about buying milk and cheese from a vending machine that I sped off from the dairy farm forgetting that the road had a speed limit.