Over the Chinese New Year holiday, I finally had a good chunk of time to sit back from the usual flurry and confusion of my everyday (work) life and do things I normally never have the time to do. Such as wandering into the city for no purpose other than having afternoon tea at Smith and Hsu. A spot of daydreaming, a pot of tea and a scone later, I felt so refreshed and inspired that I wanted to recreate that feeling at home.
通常人家問我 “最近過的怎麼樣？” 我大部分都是回答 ”很忙” （然後心裡的話是 “拜託不要問我在忙什麼 因為一想 就覺得焦慮”） 放年假的時候 終於有比較長一段時間 坐下來 好好享受一杯自己泡的水果茶 也順道想一些有的沒的事情。那下午突然想起一位老師曾經跟我講了一句話 ： “我都不會讓我自己太忙” 那時後我聽了 其實不太了解他的意思。 不是忙一點比較好嗎？ 不是忙才對社會有貢獻嗎？ 可是仔細思考了一段時間 發覺其實我很多的忙是自找的。 有時候真的是 “盲” 跟 “茫” 不是真正的 “忙” 常常感覺被工作壓力 跟生活一些瑣碎的事緊緊的纏繞的 喘不過氣。
I received this tea set a few years ago, and it’s perfect for brewing the Berry Forrest tea I received as a New Year’s gift from Smith and Hsu. I rummaged around the fridge and found some kiwis, some stray kumquats, passionfruit, and a few strawberries to infuse with the tea.
I haven’t done much research in terms of brewing tea leaves, but I think water temperature is probably something important to consider. But this time, I just sort of languidly threw everything into the pot and hoped for the best. (To take the guesswork out of achieving the right water temperature, I found out there’s this really nifty kettle from Cuisinart that has 6 preset temperatures for different types of leaves).
Since I was in the comfort of my own home, I could drink the tea curled up on the couch, while paging through my towering stack of magazines and newspaper articles (both print and digital) accumulated throughout the year. Towards the bottom of the digital pile, I came across this article “The Busy Trap” which really resonated with me. The author, Tim Kreider writes, “Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they aren’t either working or doing something to promote their work…The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it…What she had mistakenly assumed was her personality — driven, cranky, anxious and sad — turned out to be a deformative effect of her environment. “
Unfortunately, this pretty much describes the past few years(!) of my life. At work, I’m constantly gripped by both anxiety, dread and an underlying panicky feeling of “ohmygosh, what am I doing?” Like many people today, I have a demanding job. But now that I’ve had a chance to think about it, what makes it twice as mentally and physically taxing is that I take the energy sapping thoughts and anxiety home with me at the end of the work day. I mull over things that happened, that shouldn’t have happened, that may happen, and spend way too much time dreading tasks. So over the holiday, I made a list of resolutions that I’m going to improve on this year: Get unpleasant things done as quickly as possible. Remember that “attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.” (in fact, I have this quote scribbled on the front page of my appointment book) Don’t dwell on unhappy thoughts or events. Spend that time thinking good thoughts, thinking up new ideas. Make time for tea. Kreider reminds me in his article that: “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.”
This upcoming year, I hope to release myself from the confines of the busy trap and to be kinder to myself, (and to others!) in the process. I’ll keep you updated!
還好這杯水果茶是自己在家裡泡的～想完的時候 發覺都過了好幾個小時了。其實也沒特別的結論 可是只想 今年多清醒一點。 不要因為忙 而錯過重要的生活風景！
PS- I finally found out how to make the pictures bigger on this blog! It’s something that I’ve been wracking my brains over for awhile now, and it turns out the answer was right in front of me, but I just had to scroll down to find it.