We like to fill our plates. Much of life we approach like a buffet: the more we pile on, the more value we think we get. But we forget the consequence of piling on, the running ourselves down because we cannot digest what we've served ourselves. We forget until somehow we are reminded of such. It can be a pandemic which prevents us from loading our plate, or an unhealthy indigestion where we can't tolerate more.
Either way when we are prevented from piling things on, it reminds us of the fact that stress is best managed by limiting stressors. Yes we can meditate, yes we can run and do yoga, yes we can take an antidepressant, yes we can schedule a yearly vacation, but those are all still additions to our lives - still a component of piling things on. Just because they're lauded or prettified additions, it doesn't mean they will be effective in reducing our stress. Indeed, the stilling of the COVID-19 pandemic has taught me that removing things from my plate is very likely more effective for stress-reduction than piling pleasant things on.
Removing superfluity, trimming the fat from my life, simplifying my plate has made me happier - happier than anything I could have added. In this remarkable phase of forced removal, I have been brought back to a quieter time, a quixotic semblance of my youth when we had ample time and craveable boredom, when we had the luxury of choosing that with which we filled our hours. I feel I can fill my time much better right now with the essential things that matter. I am not where I was, when my plate was overflowing.
With the responsibilities of adulthood, and the reckless creation of false obligations, we have lost the art of loving simplicity in everything that we do. But, for myself, I have re-discovered the joy of a sparse, daily diet of limiting what I pile on my plate.
I suppose it's just an extension of knowing I was never really a buffet person.