“The way to experience nowness is to realize that this very moment, this very point in your life, is always the occasion.” Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
When I started thinking about how a simpler life might impact my generosity with $, I realized how important it is to me to become more generous with my time.
With my current job, weeknights have become more and more critical for me, an introvert, to use for recharging. Last year, after one unusual week with a social or service commitment every evening, I was exhausted and easily caught a cold (which forced me to cancel a bunch of other commitments). After that, I have been mindful to not commit to more than 2 evenings Monday through Thursday for social and service activity (including volunteering, classes, and appointments).
Now, when invites come in for a weeknight event, unless it’s coffee and conversation with a close friend, I generally simply say “Thank you, but I’ll pass.” Whether I already have plans or not does not need to be offered. I’ve discussed it with friends and, whether introverted or extroverted, they get it. For volunteering, I determined how much time I want to give throughout the year and I keep that in mind when I consider a request. With a little practice, I can now quickly write a simple and totally guilt-free “I’ll pass” email.
When you are on social media, you can see all the stuff your friends are doing. I confess I had one occasion, in seeing a picture of a group of friends, when I felt left out. So I examined that feeling and worked through stuff that might have been contributing to my self-pity. I considered that if I truly want my friends to be happy, I can’t make it about me. I also realized that I want to use what social time I have to focus on nourishing close friendships rather than spreading myself thin at “see and be seen” events.
I continue to be grateful for invitations and volunteer requests, but need to be my own critical personal secretary. I don’t regret saying no, I don’t consider it anti-social or selfish, and I don’t feel guilty. I am un-FOMO.
When I return to simpler living, I want to remain mindful in how I use my 24 hours. Given that my health will be my first priority, I acknowledge that finding the right balance of social and alone time may take some tweaking – I am looking forward to that challenge and to saying “count me in!” more often.