As I continue my self-imposed hiatus from shooting and blogging, I wanted to come back, under the banner of my What Inspires me series of blog posts, and register my thoughts on why we as Americans are so reluctant to do absolutely nothing from time to time, despite the fact that our bodies are screaming for it, and our spirits are crushed and burned out by the non-stop grinding.
We are being asked to do more, for less, with less. All for what? For whose benefit? What’s wrong with the idea of recharging? Are we as a society that addicted to the idea, the practice, the state of being busy? I wanted to know, so I did a quick Google search and was surprised when it came back with nearly 20 million hits!
Two important themes began to emerge as I was scanning through many of these links (no, I didn’t review all 20 million LOL).
1. We are supremely fearful of being harshly judged by others. Who wants to be known as the weakest link? You know what I have to say about that? Whose business is it of theirs if you decide to take things down a notch? Are these people who wrongfully judge you going to be there if you have a nervous breakdown from overwork, overexertion and stress? I sincerely doubt it.
2. But we will rationalize away why we won’t take things down a notch when we know we really need to (i.e., Sleeping, resting, taking some time off, etc. is for wimps; the bills need to get paid; people need/depend on me; no one can do my – fill in the blank – like me; I don’t know what to do with myself with the free time on my hands).
The relentless pursuit of absolutely nothing can be very good for the mind, body, soul and spirit. The evidence for this is pretty compelling.
Damn what society says. Who’s gonna be there when you collapse from sheer exhaustion? Society won’t. It won’t applaud you for doing what you know you need to do for yourself, it will just kick your half-dead carcass to the side and keep it moving, seeking out the next gullible, hapless
Sometimes you just have to take a break from the grind. I was remarking to someone recently that I haven’t taken a real break from anything I’ve pursued in a very long time (unless you count the times I was down from having knee surgery – that, by the way, I was almost going to opt out of doing because I was so worried about the projects that would be put on hold in my absence – or medical leave in order to recover from a health crisis or maternity leave – yeah, right).
Vacations don’t count. We all know the deal with those. You go back to work more exhausted than you were when left work because you cram a month’s worth of activities into a week or two, trying to get everything done that you can’t get to under normal circumstances because you’re working 12-14 hour days (let’s not count the commute either) and there’s no time.
All that effort to clear your desk, to make sure everything is in order, to ensure that no one else is saddled with your responsibilities while you’re gone and you STILL have to be semi-accessible, JUST IN CASE something comes up at work that no one equipped to deal with, because God forbid, you work with a bunch of highly capable colleagues who can figure things out on their own.
If that’s not fear, I don’t know what is. If that’s not manipulation, I have some beachfront property in my backyard for sale at the bargain basement price of two million US dollars.
When I decided to leave my last job^^^ I didn’t even let the grass grow under my feet. I jumped right into the photography thing with both feet. I had a few things I had to prove to myself, and I am truly grateful that things worked out the way that they did, don’t get me wrong. If I hadn’t seized certain opportunities and maintained a certain amount of self-discipline, I wouldn’t have cared less about being in the right place at the right time.
(^^^By the way, my emancipation day = June 18, 2010. I hope to celebrate my one year anniversary of that momentous occasion with my camera in hand, doing that which I love.)
But this time as I move into year 2 of my inspired life, I’m gonna do things a little differently. I am going to relentlessly pursue the state of nothingness like I pursued everything else in my life: I’m gonna do it ’till I master it. I’m reading; I’m reflecting on the world around me; I’m finding my inner rhythm; I’m talking to different people; I’m exploring other interests that were sitting on the back burner for a long time because I was too busy to take time out for me. Call me selfish, but
And when I’m ready, I’ll get back to the grind. I’ll know when it’s time.
And you know what? I get a tremendous amount of inspiration knowing that I had the balls to take control of my own well-being. That inspires me more than anything else possibly could.
Yes. I’m inspired. And it took me a year to admit it, but I will be the first to say it: I deserve it. A life without inspiration, a life without inner peace, a life teetering on the edge of a mental breakdown or physical collapse, is a life not worth living.
“We have grown literally afraid to be poor. We despise anyone who elects to be poor in order to simplify and save his inner life. If he does not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition.”
– William James
Live well and strive to find your own inspiration.