The Art of Doing Nothing

Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

I’ve got to be honest, we live in a society that doesn’t know how to stop moving. And I’m a part of it. We all are. 

Even though this is my last summer of rejecting adulthood, I’m also gearing up portfolios and plans and applications for graduate schools because something has to come next and I need options. It just so happens that some of those grad schools are in New York and if I remember correctly, there was something about that place that was so bright and so blurry…

Part of what drew me into the city was the fact that it never felt like anything could stop moving. Our minds, creativity, business, photography, entertainment, tourism… None of it was allowed to ever stop otherwise the whole city wouldn’t quite be what it was anymore.

I thought everything just might fall apart without it.

Sometimes, that’s what it feels like to be growing up right now. On the cusp of the 2000s and right in between the defining factors for two very different generations, I find myself being pushed more and more to keep moving. Forward, up, sideways, it doesn’t really matter. As long as I keep doing something

Something productive, of course.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

That’s the culture that surrounds us, no matter what generation you are or what your life looks like right now, people constantly feel the need to keep up with one another. As much as Nike would love to tell you that rivals are the best motivation, it only goes so far. 

There is a fine line between being super productive or the best worker you can be and well, a burnout. Because burnout will come if you never stop, and that’s not a choice but a fact.

Knowing that, feeling the pressure of sports or writing or future industries and accomplishing as much as I could to be the best before I get to my future, it’s a lot.

Maybe at some points, it was for me and at others, it wasn’t about me—we might be the priority of our own lives but that doesn’t mean we don’t put other people first sometimes. That’s what I’ve done for years now, especially my junior year of college when so much of it was working to support or be better for others so they had everything they needed to be the best.

After moving so so much, I am just realizing that I started moving forward in 2017 in an effort to fix all the things I felt I was doing and being wrong. I joined clubs, was offered a high starting position at work, and I hit 300+ plus pages in my novel. 

Photo by Kendal James on Unsplash

It’s just that, I know these are past accomplishments but this was only the beginning and I didn’t stop working or thinking or trying until I hit July of this year. This is the first time I’ve stopped moving.

And I’m tired.

If I’m being honest, I’m not as healthy as I should be. I am not sleeping the way I should be. I am not eating the way I should be. I do not feel the way I should, the way I want to. 

Even after all this work and time and accomplishing that has truly been incredible, none of it has changed what I lost in the process. And I really needed to recharge.

So I stopped—sort of by choice and sort of by my body making me. Instead, I’ve taken two online classes I wanted, spent a lot of time with dogs (dog sitting is a surprisingly lucrative job), and taken a break. In the past two weeks, I have read three average length novels and right now I’m on my fourth. I’ve spent time with my family and watched shows for no reason but the mindless distraction they bring.

For a little while, I’ve done nothing. And honestly, I don’t quite look forward to the structure of 16 units on quarter system again, but I’ll be starting better than it ended.

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

That counts for a whole lot.

Maybe if you remember to truly take a break, from social media and influence and work, you’ll give yourself something you truly need in the process.

I would like to think that I did and for my own literary enjoyment and fun-starved soul, I needed that time to reconnect both to the world and myself in the process. If you need that, do it for yourself. Do whatever it takes.

Trust me, you’re worth it.

Happy Friday.