I took a break for a month but I’m still tired. It was a total of 5 weeks. The 1st and 2md weeks were for going to job interviews and deciding which career opportunity to take. By the 3rd week, I was free. The change excited me and I filled my calendar with freelance work, exercising and planning for our wedding. I was so busy that I forgot I was supposed to rest. I got so mad at myself for having kept myself busy that I ended up wasting time forcing myself to do nothing. Because I did nothing, I ended up feeling guilty for wasting time. I took it easy on my 4th week with one major task per day and traveled with the family. It was my last day of rest when this entry was drafted. Sure, I got a few things out of the way but sadly, I’m disappointed that I didn’t do more with the time I had because I chose to “rest”.
What have I done to think that resting means cheating on myself?
My financial affairs were in order so I could take advantage of the time to “rest”. Everything at our home interiors were arranged in such a way that you start and end your day in a comfortable and safe environment. There is always a full pantry to cook almost anything we can think of. There’s fast internet, cable TV, Netflix, laptop for gaming, silky bed linens, plants to nurture and a dog who is always happy to see you. We made our home to remind us that “rest” can be found there and “rest” is something welcome and safe. But in maximizing it, I felt as if I wasted a significant time in my life. It was July, there was nothing significant about July.
I was often told to not overthink and be kind to myself. I understand what that means and I understand what to do but I also understand that I have the responsibility to do more. I have the obligation to do more because of the opportunities given to me, made available to me to opportunities I worked hard for. I also understand that as I continue to act on this obligation, my responsibilities are bigger. My expertise and habit of learning are depended on by businesses. My experience and time are depended on by those with whom I work. My ability to do well at my role is depended on by me and the life I’ve built. And there I was with the audacity to have a 5-week break.
Come to think of it, a proper work week gives you 120 hours in total which is enough to do more than just “work”. But because of workload, traffic and consequent travel time, chores and errands, social affairs and #healthgoals, you are left with nothing but exhaustion. Weekends are then spent preparing for another week of that because you want to avoid any form of unnecessary stress in the coming week. Week in and week out, this is you. So you seek genuine “rest” with long weekends and Holidays. But when it is there, you are no longer wired to use it.
In my many mundane and in-denial hours during my break, I found an old article (just about a year old which is very old online) saved in my Pocket about setting goals in scheduling your day. Amber Rae suggests having 3 work goals, 1 play, 1 fitness and 1 push goal. If you have sufficient control and resources, she recommends batching your days to give you a good mix of accomplishments by the end of the week. It was a relief. Sure, it was another productivity piece but more than anything, it told me that I can play and I can feel productive by doing things that have to do with me, not career, not work, me.
I found this to be a more effective approach to get what I want. What I want is to be present in myself by doing things (or not doing things) that have to do with nurturing me. Who I am is someone who constantly seeks improvement, new hobbies, a sense of completion - an ongoing cycle of recognizing that I made it from point A to B and gearing myself to get to point C. As it turns out, all I need to do to be that for me is to integrate it in my 120 hours in the same way that I integrate my work, career, training and learning in the week.
This 5-week break was much needed. I screwed it up but it’s been 10 years since I started working and I have not stopped since. It was necessary to remind me of what I’ve achieved, a good time to motivate me to experience more and it gave me the opportunity to be excited again about the possibilities of the future. So go and take life seriously - grow, move up, work hard, work smart, train but remember to pause, rest, play, smile, discover new things and love.
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