The Cost of the Constant

It’s that time again.

We’ve hit summer and I feel myself transitioning into a mindset of time off for a week with our huge and amazing family.

I’ve said before that time off hasn’t always been easy for me. Which feels like a major understatement.

The word that comes up for me when I think about time off is: ambivalence. 

Listening to a panel of business women last night reminded me that part of this is generational – Gen-Xers are known for their entrepreneurial spirit and often workaholic tendencies. (BTW, so are Millennials.)

What matters more, though, are the individual attitudes and perspectives we can have about work. 

My dad rarely took vacation growing up and I inherited his perspective that things should be hard won and just, well, hard. 

This makes for a complicated relationship with leisure. 

When you’re not sure whether time off is “good”, enjoying it can be tricky. It can feel comforting to stay in work mode, even on vacation, simply because it’s familiar. Not because it’s good. 

This is a deep well and I’ve done a lot of swimming here. 

Gradually over the years I’ve been able to fully experience what time off really offers – an amazing way to fuel my most important relationships, creativity, and overall, my soul. 

What I have also found as you all inspire me to go deeper on these topics, is that another thing is at play here. 

I referenced it when I wrote about seasons.

Work is no different than so many other things in our lives (including my chocolate snacks). There should be a beginning and an end. 

It’s an impossible idea that we would do anything constantly. Human physiology operates best with a balance between activity and rest. 

So where are you holding yourself to a constant standard? What is that costing you? 

Ever since Grace went to kindergarten and I started to entertain this type of “summer”, I imagined what it would feel like to major in things outside of work. Here’s what I wrote recently describing the things I’d love to lose myself in THIS summer: 

“Do you know what I’d LOVE to do with my summer? 

Read, walk, learn, workout, play tennis, write, coach, organize, and BE with my fam and my friends. Unapologetically. How can I make this possible?” 

This is not even close to an impossible list. I’m just so grateful it starts with something aside from work, which by the way I LOVE. 

So here’s to summer. May you write your own list and live it out, unapologetically.