Istanbul Rising: Slow down

In the last month, I’ve traveled out of my fair city and I’ve had the good fortune to spend time with old friends. Perhaps it’s because we rarely see each other, perhaps it’s because we recognize that we took our time together for granted before, but for whatever reason, this month especially, I’ve had the blessing of being able to really tell my friends how much I appreciate them. And I’ve had the blessing of hearing how much I am loved and missed as well.

It’s made me think about my regular life. Do I tell my friends how much I appreciate them? Do I let them know? As I spoke about in my last column, we all crave connections, but how often are we actively acknowledging the ones that we already have? How many times have you let your phone go to missed call, how often do you actually interact on social media instead of just passively observing? When was the last time you didn’t write someone back on email because you were just too busy?

We all do it, let’s admit it. We live in a world of busy, because busy is rewarded in our society. It makes us feel grown up and responsible and fulfilled. And let’s face it: it’s easy. It’s simple to get wrapped up in a life of busy busy busy, and its more complicated to work on our connection to others. Busyness allows people to feel the satisfaction of getting a job done, rather than feel the intimate messiness of spending time with people and expressing our love and caring for them.

But I’ve also learned this month that busyness, while something on the surface that can feel quite satisfying, can also leave people feeling empty, confused and even depressed. Maybe not everyone, but enough for me to pause and write this article to say, get real: no one is that busy! It’s an excuse to disengage, for whatever reasons, but the consequences can be quite negative. You might not even know why or how it’s come to this point, but it’s actually quite easy to turn things around.
It’s been so nice to reconnect with old friends this month, but we needn’t wait till “holiday time” to do so. We should be doing it in our regular day life as much as we can. Linger over that afternoon coffee with your friend, have that potluck this weekend, call that person you haven’t chatted to in a long time, write an email to an old friend – and parents, we know you’re busy, but don’t make your kids an excuse to drop off the face of the earth. My old girlfriend and I got a 20-minute Skype chat in between my work, her two kids, her new job and a ten-hour time difference. If we can do it, so can you.

It makes a difference, not just to connect with a friend or family member, but to move from being a person who has “no time” to someone who does. Busyness is addicting, so slow down. Engage. Reach out. Say “I love you” to your friends and family. Be that person, even just once and a while. No one should wait to go on holiday to express and hear these things. Do it now, and feel as good as if you were going on a much-needed vacation.


Meg in AlcoveMeghan MacIver is a Canadian writer and Kundalini pre-natal yoga instructor who lives in Istanbul. She has had a love affair with the city for nearly 14 years, and she is deeply excited about the opportunity to finally write about it in a spiritual way. When she is not writing or teaching yoga, she can be found exploring the city and contemplating life’s little intricacies. Her other work has been published in The National Post, CBC, RNW and ROOM magazine, amongst others.

Photo by Karen Cox, used with Creative Commons license.

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