Maybe you know me or have read my bio. I have always been a person who loves to work. I find it relaxing to audit a spreadsheet. I’d rather bring work home to keep on top of deadlines. I check work email all the time. An average work week has been 40-50 hours, if not more. Or, it used to be. I’m officially considering myself a recovering workaholic. But, does this sound like you? Stop it.
As of last March I’m only working one job instead of two, or three if you consider the side gigs I took on. For the first time since we moved to Virginia I have a part time morning job only and suddenly I’ve realized all the life that has gone on when I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve also realized that no one has missed me. All that work I thought was so vital, so important, only I could get it done? Life went on. People are managing. Thriving. I have nothing to show for that work. Except for the stuff that is missing now.
Like what you ask?
Mental and physical health for two. I skipped appointments or didn’t make them, ate poorly, ignored people, places, and things, and it shows. My eyes are blurry. My body aches. My stamina is low even for sitting. Don’t choose work over all health.
Going and Doing. I have a friend from another time and place who recently moved across the country to another state with six kids, new jobs, new house, and she already has a church home, book club, her kids have had sleepovers and parties with their new friends, and her new friends comment on their activities together on her Facebook…meanwhile I’ve been in my neighborhood, this house, for 10 years. Just this last weekend I went to a shop in the center of my little town for the first time. I was amazed. When I drove a different way to work a whole housing development went up I didn’t know about. The only people I know are the ones I’ve worked with. And, in my neighborhood, I really only know the names of 3 of the neighbors but only because my husband has talked with them and told me their names.
To make matters worse, we live 90 minutes from the Smithsonian. I’ve never been. We live 90 minutes from the US Botanic Garden. I’ve never been. We live 90 minutes from Mount Vernon. I’ve never been. We live 2 hours from Falling Water. I’ve never been. I worked for UVa for 5 years, and, you guessed it, I’ve never been to Charlottesville, 2 hours away. Don’t choose work over Going and Doing.
My only excuse is that my jobs were hourly and I would have missed paid time that cost money. The dollar cost or loss seemed to outweigh the personal enriched value. I wonder if I can make up for lost time? I’m older, wobbly, and the idea of going to any of those places makes me over think my stamina, my vision, the physical things that would have made it easier 10 years ago. Any time in the last 10 years would be better than now but will I make up for lost time? I hope so.
You know what I enjoy now more than a spreadsheet? Reading. Enjoying my house and garden, even my technology. I found out there’s this thing called YouTube where I found out people who like to sew are called sewists? Their projects are “makes” or “me mades.” Sewing has a whole new vocabulary I didn’t know about! Then I found out there’s this thing called “Instagram.” Wow! There are fiber artists doing all the work I used to do and more! I’m on a mission to get organized–you know there are whole videos of people organizing? And then, I found podcasts. There is no lack of inspiration to get things done, go places, discover the world around us. I’m making these things, and writing, more of a priority now. No more waiting.
My advice to everyone, especially younger, is don’t wait. Go and Do. Work is work, play is play. Make the decision for your mind and health. And for goodness sake eat right and keep moving!