Monday, 2 July 2012

A Life Well-Lived

All gone now. The lettuce dried up under the unforgiving sun while I was away.

I have been mainly away for the past few weeks. Travelling, coming back for a few days, then travelling again had been my mode of existence. I became weary of the hotel rooms we inhabited, and busied myself visiting family and having friends come over to visit. So my garden was left to fend for itself, save for the kindness of my neighbour and a niece, who despite her busy schedule as a medical officer, not only managed to water my plants but also check on my cats. Speaking of which, my poor Yoruichi spent almost 2 weeks at the vet's during our absence, because she still needed daily care. Fortunately most of her stay was billed as 'boarding', which is markedly cheaper than 'warded', as she steadily grew stronger and required less specialised care. She came home a respectable weight of 2.51kg, a definite improvement from her sickly weight of 1.8 kg.

Today was the first day I had to myself after our return. I hit the laundry pile, and then started pottering about in the garden. There was a power trip while we were away, and we came back to a darkened house and warm fridge. Needless to say, I find myself inundated with rotting veggies. Some of them went into my compost pile. I think I am going to get some surprise seedlings from this lot: perhaps tomatoes, cucumbers or lime seedlings might spring up in the compost pile. The rotting coconut water I threw on the heap as well, and it was promptly licked by Yinkey Pet. I tell you that cat is definitely Paleo/Primal: she loves cheese, yoghurt, virgin coconut oil, lamb, and now, coconut water too. Or perhaps she thinks she is human. The particularly manky and slimy rotting veggies I buried in a veggie bed I am preparing. Perhaps these nitrogen-enriched beds can house the lettuce seedlings I have growing?

I took out the Small Sugar Pumpkin seeds I bought from Kebun Bahagia Bersama, filed the edges (to enable water to seep in, check this link here for more info), immersed in a cup of warm water, and planted into one of the sites I had prepared, pointy end down.

Can you tell the difference between the untouched pumpkin seed (above) and the filed one (below)?

I like days like these, when I can catch my breath and reorient myself. I guess I am a big fan of soltitude, although I do enjoy the company of others. I honestly wonder how do busy people cope with the demands on their time and their fast-paced lives? Perhaps they can multitask: be alone with their thoughts while a part of their brain is engaged at some mundane office task. Honestly that sounds a bit like a split personality to me. Creepy. How many of us tune out while faced with repetitious, dreary chores? Do their spirits take flights of fancy, while outwardly they seem to be focused on the job at hand?

In case you haven't read it yet, do read this article in the New York Times on how and why we keep ourselves 'busy'. The author has articulated well what I have thought about for a long time and never had the eloquence nor self-confidence to express: some people who claim they are 'busy' for other things in life, actually enjoy the fact that they are needed by others. But in the end are we dancing to our own tune or are we foxtrotting to others', at the expense of our selves? To me the author, Tim Kreider, said it well:

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth. Archimedes’ “Eureka” in the bath, Newton’s apple, Jekyll & Hyde and the benzene ring: history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams. It almost makes you wonder whether loafers, goldbricks and no-accounts aren’t responsible for more of the world’s great ideas, inventions and masterpieces than the hardworking. 

 I think it is time for me to be more forthright about what I really think, provided of course I can avoid coming across as smug, or self-righteous, or patronising while still getting my ideas across with clarity. Sigh. I am still very much a work in progress. And I ought to spend less time on Facebook *wink*. Ironically, I probably wouldn't have found the above article were it not for Facebook. Which begs the question, am I using Facebook for my own ends, or is Facebook using me?


TukangKebun said...

Good to hear that youichiro putting on weight.
Interesting thoughts.
Multitasking made me crash and burn-very exhausting. Especially when I am doing one activity but my mind is somewhere else. At the end, the mind runs into so many directions that you simply can't control it becomes chaotic in the head. So psychiatrist ask me to practise 'mindfulness' which to focus one activity at one time. Controlling the mind on focusing what I am doing at the moment even for simple activities washing the dishes, hanging clothes, ect. I am still trying to do that.

Mama Pongkey said...

I am like that too. I can 'freeze' because of so many things that I must accomplish within a day, especially when it pertains to housework (I hate it!). I am still working on it. Baby steps, says the Flylady.

I like the advice you are getting. Mindfulness. It sounds so simple, and yet it is profound, and can help in many areas of our lives. I guess sometimes I am in too much of a hurry to get to the future, that I forget to enjoy where I am and what I am doing right now.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons i had to deactivate myself from FB, well not because of FB itself but like u mentioned above, just to take a step back and see things in a bigger picture. I feel too 'busy' but not effective. More like 'semak' haha. Have u seen the poster "Mind Full versus Mindful?" thats a good one kan