The other day, I walked into a bar, on a last minute impulse decision, after a particularly long and exhausting day of work. The only thing that I can recall was how much seemed to have gone wrong for me during the day and the week leading up to it–my car’s headlights decided to magically break as soon as I used a turn signal (?), planning periods were spent since no onpeople e needed a break hour anyway, and I wasn’t getting out as often as I needed to be. So, having these things, as well as many others, swarming in my mind, I decided to give in and get a drink for a few minutes and then take off so that I could stay on my schedule. I ended up staying for well over an hour, spending time talking to other bar patrons and employees about daily struggles, humorous experiences, tales from the world of teaching or motherhood, and how we get by in the day to day living cycle. This was notable for me, not just because I was able to relay my own stories to another person or group of people, but because I had finally allowed myself to be in a state of ease not usually experienced in the life that I have currently paved for myself.
More or less, this idea is something that we can all relate to on some level. We put in so much time and effort into establishing an identity and making a name for ourselves within the working world that we lose track of the things that really define us, and try to make our hobbies and lives (outside of the regular workplace) work around what we do to sustain ourselves–I am guilty as charged, as I have found myself allowing work to become my life rather than a piece to a bigger whole. Many of us may find that we spend more time working at home (outside of the regular workplace) than we do doing the things we love or spending time with the people that we love. Yes, working and having a job is a very important thing for an individual to possess, with reasons mentioned in the above writing. However, with a desire and a growing demand to have everything be above and beyond what is expected, we often lose ourselves looking for that same perfection in the way we work–so much so, that it bleeds over into our personal lives, blurring the lines between one part of ourselves and another, delivering more stress-filled anxiety into a life that loses its spontaneity and adapts more to a one-track beginning and end way of living.
Notably, we also find ourselves losing some form of human connection on an interpersonal level. The same absorption into work and everything of the like drives us to treat everyone we know, colleagues or loved ones, in the same fashion. They all become recurring faces in our daily routine. If they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, or if they happen to be absent, a tight equilibrium is disrupted and, subsequently, so is the sense of calm that we establish in this case.
This is where the importance of stepping back to take a look at ourselves or to take time to ourselves comes into play. Too often, we are called to devote every fiber of ourselves to the constant demand and fast-pace of the workplace that we forget to look at ourselves and meditate upon where our own well-being stands amidst the grander scheme of things. If we are going to be a part of something that is ultimately bigger than ourselves work wise, why not take a moment to care for ourselves so that we can be more productive? And what about for the people in our lives? How are going to be able to communicate with them in a way that doesn’t come off as technical or un-engaging?
Every one of us is human, and we deserve to treat ourselves as such. Do not cut off the things that help you sustain yourself, but do not let these same things encompass your whole existence. Go to a bar and have a random conversation. Take a window shopping trip with a friend. Set aside thirty minutes or so for the sake of helping someone with chores or homework. Set aside thirty minutes for a call to a loved one or friend. Go jogging. Take a few minutes to just be by yourself and breathe. Write a blog entry. Have that balance, and you’ll be fine.