Here’s a motivational quote I’ve seen circulating the internet over the last few weeks. Perhaps you’ve seen it, as well; I can’t seem to get away from it (I’m sure it doesn’t help that I’m on social media every seven minutes):
“Destroy the idea that you have to be constantly working or grinding in order to be successful. Embrace the concept that rest, recovery, and reflection are essential parts of the progress towards a successful and happy life.”
I can’t figure out from where this originates. I’ve seen it credited to Zach Galifianakis, but I’ve seen various websites slap their URL on it and more or less take credit for it, as well. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’ve been trying to figure out what I think about this quote. I think it’s good advice, ultimately, but I worry that I’m resting and recovering so much these days that it has actually just evolved into laziness. Am I wrong? Probably, but I have to figure this out. You know the drill—I’m going to talk my way through this while you sit there and dutifully listen to my neurotic ravings.
SO Much Rest and Recovery
Since our baby came on the scene 14-ish months ago, she’s obviously become a big part of our life. She might be the only baby we have, so I’d like to enjoy and prioritize my time with her, even if it means (with some hesitation) delaying some of my other projects and goals to make it happen. Plus, I’m sure my wife appreciates me taking the baby off her hands for a couple of hours in the evening so she can get in on that rest, recovery, and reflection, too.
However, baby plus day job is a big chunk of my everyday life, so once the work day is over, baby is in bed, and the household chores are done, I’m beat. In the last hour or so before I go to bed, it’s hard to summon enough brainpower to formulate a creative thought, much less put that thought to paper. So, I use the time for rest, recovery, and reflection, instead. And yes, it is helpful. I can exist for at least one hour a day with no obligations or places to be, and relax with a book or a video game before going to bed and waking up early the next morning to get things done.
Unfortunately, my 5 a.m. wake-up that I cover in that morning-person blog I referenced above has gotten awfully inconsistent over the last few weeks. My lunch breaks, which I usually use for writing, have been largely sacrificed for various errand-running, meetings, and daytime baby-watching since the start of 2019. My weekends have been pretty busy, as well, either with social functions, work for Cape Comic Con and Cape Championship Wrestling, chores, or other obligations. That means that, often, the only time left in my day to do creative things are those few precious moments before bed, when I’m supposed to be doing the rest, recovery, and reflection thing. But, instead of enjoying that time, I feel this pressure to push and get something done, but I can’t bring myself to do it because I’m tired and unmotivated.
So here’s my question: when does “rest, recovery, and reflection” stop, and just sitting on my butt through all my free time, not doing anything productive start? That’s the direction I worry (prematurely, perhaps) I’m headed. I’m looking for a way to get over this hump before that can happen.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Hey, crazy person, your baby is still super young and time-consuming. You’ll get some time back when she gets older and a little more independent. Just chill out and enjoy your little one. AND, your life isn’t that stressful, anyway! At least you don’t live in a warzone. You’re not discriminated against. You’re not poor. You and your family have your health and a nice place to live. You’re going through a rough patch, but it’ll pass! Just relax, reestablish good habits, and you’ll be back to creating on the regular in no time.
Of course you’re right. You’re absolutely right. I get impatient and start to worry. Have I just gotten lazy? Am I not planning or organizing well enough? Do I not actually have the passion for this stuff like I think I do? No, what’s most likely is that I am taking myself way too seriously, and I do need to just relax and embrace creativity as a natural part of rest, recovery, and reflection, not something I “have to do.”
So, what’s the solution? Just relax.
Patience with myself – As I mentioned in this blog from around a year ago, even though it often feels like I’m falling behind or running out of time, I’m not. If I don’t accomplish anything this week, or next week, or next month, it doesn’t make me a failure. It doesn’t mean I’ll never accomplish anything ever again. There are highly productive times in my life, and highly unproductive times in my life. Right now, I’m in the latter, but I’m taking care of my family and myself. I shouldn’t feel bad for doing that, and I definitely shouldn’t feel like a failure.
Patience with others – I look at some of you highly productive, highly motivated people in my life (friends, coworkers, and creative influences), and I want to punch your lights out for being so $%#&ing productive. How do you do it? Do you ever sleep? I want to strangle each and every one of you. Then, I come to my senses and decide to try to learn from you, instead. That’s probably the more morally and socially responsible way to go about things, don’t you think?
Drawing and writing should BE rest, relaxation, and recovery – Remember, they aren’t things I “have to do.” So why do they stress me out so much? This is a paradigm shift I have been attempting to make since the little one was born, and I’m getting there, but it’s a slow process. If I can abandon the pretentious notion of, “well, I’m a creator, and therefore, I must create,” and actually enjoy myself, instead, that’ll fix a lot of things.
Adjust my expectations to match the time I actually have available – I’m exaggerating a little bit, here, but on average, I expect myself to finish a couple of full drawings, write a whole blog, write a bunch of comic stuff, draw something pretty for Instagram, and end the world’s dependence on fossil fuels. All in a day. Every day. I blogged about this near the end of 2017, and it sounds like I’m still having some of the same issues with unrealistic expectations and not enjoying creativity now that I was then. That’s a little discouraging. I don’t think I’m as bad as I was, but I still need some work. Ah well. Baby steps.
All right. I’ve got that out of my system. Please excuse my use of the blog for self-therapy. But, like I always say, maybe you’re having some of the same problems, and if I can help you as I talk my way through my own problems, then it was a worthwhile endeavor. Thank you for sharing in my neuroses, and I’ll be back next time with some real content!