It’s Okay to Exist Without an Objective
When is the last time you unplugged, completely? Can you remember a day when you weren’t leashed to your phone or a computer screen? Has there been an instance in recent memory when you took all your obligations, put them on a raft, and set them adrift? Have you allowed yourself to just—float?
Me either. I think we need to change that.
The Glorious Hustle
Earlier this week, Brian ordered a pizza while I was at work. Perhaps five minutes after he submitted the order, our doorbell rang. He considered a moment before heading downstairs; five minutes wasn’t nearly long enough to bake and deliver a pizza, but our doorbell doesn’t ring often, so. . .
A jolly older man waited for him outside. Our address had been selected for some department of health survey, and he asked if Brian had a few minutes. Brian graciously agreed, and gave the man his demographic information, after which the man asked “Does anyone else live here with you?”
So Brian gave him my demographic information. The man’s computer chewed up the data and decided that I was the one who needed to take the survey. Great, except I wasn’t home.
“When would be the best time to reach him?” The man asked.
Brian laughed. “Well, that’s tough. He works in the evenings, goes to a farm some mornings, and, you know. . . he’s a writer.” I imagine at this point the man raised his eyebrows knowingly and sort of wrote me off. He promised he’d return (and in fact he has, but that’s another story).
Later on, as I talked with Brian on the phone during one of my breaks, he told me the story. As I listened I thought, I’m not that busy, am I? Long after our conversation ended, I was still considering. Was I?
The realization was a little sobering. In a lot of ways, I’ve been working nonstop since June. That’s when my day camp started, and the manuscript for TEORG came back from the editor. I spent every spare moment in my 13 hour work days editing and revising and formatting and designing. After that we had a week of vacation, but directly following it was hustle, hustle to get the book out. Now it’s been out for a month and I still haven’t slowed down.
EXCLUSIVE FOR SUBSCRIBERS!
Sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter today, and get instant access to my FREE SUBSCRIBER EXCLUSIVE short story.
Revenge is better with a side of bacon. . .
From the moment I get up in the morning until the moment I lay down again at night, it’s either book stuff, or real job stuff. I’m constantly reading about marketing, book funnels, and email lists. I’m soliciting reviewers and book clubs, and free promotions. Finally, I’m devoting more time to this blog again (which I love). I wrote an awesome new short story (you really should get it if you haven’t already, it’s free), and it’s go, Go, GO!
The truth is, I haven’t noticed how busy I am because I’ve been loving it—every minute. It’s been glorious, but still. . .
What Is This. . . Feeling?
Yesterday morning Brian woke up sick. It seemed like it was mostly fall allergies, but he was feeling run down and decided to stay home from work. I was supposed to go to the farm, but I wasn’t feeling so hot myself (and it wasn’t my normal day to go anyways), so I figured the best course of action was to go back to bed.
We slept until after 10:30.
When we finally headed into the kitchen for coffee, I looked at him and said “Wow, I don’t know the last time we slept this late.”
“Me either,” he said through his sniffles. “What do you want to do this morning?”
I considered a minute. I still wasn’t feeling my best, but I suddenly realized I was more rested than I’d been in—I don’t know! What was this feeling? Much of my typically productive morning was already wasted, and I was strangely alright with that. When I answered, it was the truth. “Nothing.”
“Alright,” he said.
The moment was small, but powerful. When had it become fashionable to work constantly? When had I forgotten to slow down—something I write about constantly—and driven myself to this point? How had I neglected even my simplest personal pleasures—my moments of quiet? Where was my eternity in seventeen minutes?
I want to be back there again. I want a little more balance, and I’m going to make it a priority. You should too.
Of course, there were things that needed to get done yesterday morning, and I had to do them. But the idea—the reminder that it’s alright to sleep in, to drift—lingers with me still. That’s a good thing.
See, there is a unique pleasure in existing without an objective. I’ve written before about the guilt of not being constantly productive, and today I’m going to write as clearly as possible:
THAT’S TOTAL CRAP!
Obviously, balance is the key here. If I were to totally stop doing all of my writerly things and instead binge watch television and play video games during all of my spare time, that would be one thing. I’m not talking about the extreme. I’m just talking about. . .
Things will get done. I can’t regret the occasional extra hour of sleep. I can’t beat myself up over taking a morning to unplug, put on some chill music, and sip my coffee with my eyes closed.
Consider this snail (yes, one of those terrifying little babies I wrote about, all grown up now). No, it’s not dead, it’s just floating. It’s just existing, letting the water push it where it will go. It’s been bobbing in the tank like this for five minutes or so, totally content to just be. Eventually, it’ll let out its air, drift back to the bottom, and continue doing snaily things, but for now? Floating is good enough.
Brian and I are going camping this weekend, and I can’t wait for my phone to run out of battery. There’ll be no reports on KDP, or checking CreateSpace. I won’t be worried about new Twitter followers, or how my book funnel is working. It’ll be nothing but autumn leaves and campfires and mountain air, and probably more than my share of beer and wine.
We’ll be existing without an objective. We’ll be floating. The blogging will keep until Tuesday. So will all the rest.
Tell me your thoughts! Do you work yourself too hard? Do you take time to simply exist? When is the last time you unplugged from social media and technology. For extra credit, what is your favorite campfire recipe? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks as always for reading,