Just do it
Remember Nike’s famous ad? It tapped right into America’s Puritan work ethic. We seem to love to make stuff happen. To power through.
At least I sure do. I’ve got more going on than most people I know, and when I set my mind on a goal (or more often, goals), I’m driven to make it (them) happen.
The problem is, the “just do it” mindset can make it very hard for me to let go and just be.
I’m still coming off of last week’s “work fugue” (deadlines up the wazoo, culminating in my parents’ 50th anniversary celebration over the weekend), and the compulsion is strong to get back on track with all of my goals that had to be set aside while I fought more urgent “fires.” Plus I leave on Saturday for a week making music in the woods, so there’s no time to dilly-dally.
Now there are all sorts of Puritan work ethic voices rattling around in my head:
“If you want your blog to be taken seriously, you must post consistently, on the same days every week.” (Ack! I must be a total failure!)
“You really need to be writing (and posting) every day.” (Ack! Again I’m a total failure!)
“When you have a goal, you must put it first at all times, and even let everything else slide in order to accomplish it.” (Loser! Loser! Loser!)
Because last night I did not put my big goals first. I’d been invited out to dinner, and instead of following my usual Stay-Up-Late-and-Power-Through M.O, I decided to go.
Not such a big deal, right? Except that I’d made a commitment to myself to publish a blog post, and I’d also made a commitment to myself to get to sleep by midnight. Dinner out would make it impossible to achieve both of these goals; I’d have to pick one: either get to sleep by midnight, or write a blog post.
Oh, how I tortured myself!
“A serious blogger would skip dinner and just write.”
“How can you be out enjoying yourself when you have so much to do?”
“You don’t deserve this R&R until you’ve accomplished more!”
Oh, for God’s sake!
It took the entire first half of dinner for me to let myself relax and enjoy myself. (Some good red wine seriously helped!)
The overarching goal: happiness
It also helped to remind myself that, regardless of my current goals, commitments and deadlines, happiness is my overarching goal.
And part of happiness is taking time to enjoy life, just because, even if that doesn’t help me meet my current deadlines.
Yes, I have a ton of things I’m trying to accomplish, and I’m okay with working hard (for awhile) to make that happen. But it’s important to remember that working hard and burning the midnight oil is not the ultimate goal, just the means to an end.
Don’t I want to have time to relax and just enjoy? It seems like I’ve almost forgotten what that feels like!
Maybe tipping my toe into that pool every so often isn’t such a bad idea. Maybe I do deserve to have some fun, relaxation time, even when I’m powering toward my big goals. Maybe it won’t actually mean total disaster to take a little time for me.
I sound like a psycho workaholic, don’t I? Clearly it’s time to reset the foundation. Thank goodness I’ll be in the woods all next week, away from work, away from my regular routine. Even away from internet and phone.
Ha! No powering-through for me!
Except that instead of lying around reading for a week, I’ll be fully immersed in music classes. Powering through again, just in a different part of my life.
Huh. I even wrote about the importance of not always powering through just a week ago.
Apparently, I’m incurable.