I have written– and then trashed– about three or four blog posts over the last month, each based on the theme of busy-ness. There are countless examples of how I have chosen work over play: at a Brewers game a month ago, I sat on my phone looking at web analytics while everyone else tailgated, I left our soccer game at halftime to go home and work on photos, and I’ve turned down invites to game nights and hangouts in order to intimately stare at a screen.
It’s not just relationships with friends that are suffering, either. Even when resting, I can feel my brain scanning my mental calendar and to-do list.
Before the season ended, Caleb and I would settle in on Mondays to catch up on the week’s Game of Thrones episode and I would make it about eight minutes before I was up and pacing the living room floor. It has been impossible to relax in any capacity when I know full well there is something I could be doing.
Dirty dishes are ubiquitous, un-edited photos are copious, and the little voice in my head won’t leave me alone. Sometimes it’s not even a little voice that says, “Hey, get off your lazy butt and go take care of this,” it’s this itching, persistent feeling in my limbs that there is something I need to be doing. The very act of sitting drives me crazy. I can’t just be.
Sure, it’s peak wedding season, so I’m bound to have a full plate. But shouldn’t I be relishing, then, all the times I get to take a breather?
Last week, during the Time Warner outage, I arrived home from work and popped open the laptop, not realizing the internet was out. With no internet, there is zero She & Me work that can get done and let’s just say, I was angry. I was so irritated, in fact, that instead of saying, “Oh, well, now I have time to do something for me,” I sat in front of that laptop for two hours (two hours!), refreshing the browser every ten minutes to see if everything was back up. It wasn’t until around 8pm that Caleb and I decided to walk to the Hubbard Park Biergarten. It was a beautiful night, I got to wear a crappy hoodie, and we split a beer. It was great! So simple, yet entirely fulfilling (if you’re wondering, yes, I repeatedly checked my email while we were out).
This is a busy time of year for us, no doubt about it. But the fact that I couldn’t roll with the cyber cards we were dealt is slightly disturbing. And don’t get me wrong– I love the She & Me work we do. I don’t always get the same kind of thrill out of my day job, so I genuinely look forward to coming home to more, yet different, work.
On one hand, I love that I’m so intrinsically passionate about what we do that I think about it all the time. But on the other, I rarely see my own friends and occasionally I get a bit snippy with Caleb when I’ve been stewing on a problem for weeks and he doesn’t immediately come to the same solution on which I have so brilliantly (and painstakingly) decided.
I think this has been a difficult post for me because it doesn’t have a nice, wrapped-up ending. I’m not sure yet how to fix my thirst for work and I’m not sure I’ll ever be fully cured. I’m young, so now is the time to work unceasingly, right? Honestly, though, that doesn’t seem like great advice but that’s what I have heard many times before in comments like, “Enjoy ______ now while you don’t have kids.” I’m sure you’ve all heard that before, too. And that’s not necessarily wrong– I imagine there is quite a bit of truth to it, but is age an excuse for anything? “It’s ok you’re a workaholic because you’re only 23.” That sounds terrible, doesn’t it?
For the past couple months, my goals have revolved around simplifying my life. I’ve thought about following Marie Kondo’s advice, I’ve read blog after blog about living minimally, and now I’m getting on the capsule wardrobe bandwagon. I don’t think my problem here is needing simplification (you know me, I’m not one for frills and beating around the bush), I think my problem is learning how to take a break. A real break.
Thankfully, Caleb and I are going backpacking with friends for a few days at the end of August. Until then, any tips for giving my poor brain a rest? What habits or tricks work for you to put that (damn) phone down?
My first step is to only re-read this post twice before publishing. We’ll see how that goes.