I’ve been getting asked about this lately and seeing lots of people talking about this, so that signaled to me it was time to write a bit more about what it means to me to “do nothing.”
First, some personal history: When I worked a desk job what I wanted most in life was to own my time. What was the point of living in NYC if all I did was drag myself to and from work during the weekdays?
Our company shuttered and I found myself with the opportunity to travel to Buenos Aires, where I initially felt free but ended up reconstructing many of the same binds I created for myself in NYC.
In grad school the idea of flexible schedules and summer breaks really appealed to me, but summers ironically became the heaviest time of the year because I would feel so guilty taking any time off. I either worked or repented for not working.
When I started my youth work I was so happy to look at my full calendar because it made me feel like I was a “real person” contributing to the world. I felt so lucky to have “found my passion” and have a reason for waking up each morning. I hustled. I chased excellence in all that I did, hoping to make myself and my work into something more.
That ended up being a recipe for burnout. It was during my year-long “sabbatical” from work that I truly sat with this impulse I had to always be productive, busy, ambitious. Bringing this energy into balance has been a multi-year journey, and I’ll be sharing some insights (and probably some questions for release work) on that coming up. If this resonates, stay tuned!