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.

Beware missing out on quiet moments.

“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.

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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.

Just Float

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,

Gregory

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Aimer Boyz - October 5, 2017

Phones aren’t the only things that need to be recharged. Breathe 🙂

Reply
S.M.Holland - October 6, 2017

This is part of the reason why I’m taking a twitter break.. I’m not good with the whole balance thing… but time away from social media has helped me plug in where I am currently living.. and I finally got my most recent draft done and sent to my CPs to rip apart again. 😉 It’s both been wonderful and sad being off twitter… But I need time..eventually I will come back.. maybe give me another month. 😉
Also, we love making calzones on the camp fire.. I would make dough and bring it with us camping, we would then fill it with our favorite pizza toppings, wrap it in foil, and toss it on the fire. 😉

Reply
    Gregory Josephs - October 9, 2017

    Oh wow! Campfire calzones sound amazing! We’ll definitely be trying that next time around.

    I am glad you finished your draft, and am thrilled to hear you’re settling in over there on the other side of the world. Time away is definitely important when it helps us to realign our priorities. I’ll look forward to seeing your tweets again at some point, but for now I’m just glad to know you’re doing well. 😉 Thanks for stopping by. . . now I’m going to be dreaming of those calzones. . .

    Reply
Stefanie Stricker - October 6, 2017

This is my struggle in life. I don’t rest. Thanks for the reminder. Enjoy camping!

Reply
    Gregory Josephs - October 9, 2017

    Hey Stef, let’s both try to rest more. Lots going on recently, but hopefully it’ll all slow down as winter sets in, right? Love you. Take a breath!

    Reply
A.S. Akkalon - October 7, 2017

I totally agree. Doing nothing is so important and so underrated. Some days I spend the whole day off Twitter and the world feels different somehow. I do miss my online friends, though.

Reply
    Gregory Josephs - October 9, 2017

    SO underrated! Weather forced us back from our camping trip a day early, so I’m doing my best to enjoy the last day of this long weekend doing as little as possible. I’ll hit the ground running again tomorrow, but for now I’m going to finish recharging. Of course, I contracted a cold while we were away, so that’s helping to slow me down too. . .

    Reply
Marcus Lopes - October 10, 2017

I recently unplugged for a bit over this past weekend. Here ins Canada, we celebrated Thanksgiving. As we were getting ready to head to a relative’s for dinner, I decided to leave my cell phone at home. I’m no longer surprised, although it’s a little frustrating, to see people constantly checking their phones – especially during a family gathering.

And, for me, it’s challenging to just do nothing. I feel like I always need to be doing something. Yet yesterday, returning home after dealing with the drama that exploded with my partner’s family, I did exactly nothing. And you know what? It felt good!

Hope you had a great time camping!

Marcus

Reply
    Gregory Josephs - October 10, 2017

    Hi Marcus,

    Yeah, it was really great to get away. I can’t say I didn’t look at my phone at all, but it was very sparingly, and mostly for navigation while we were hiking. It was absolutely a relief to be disconnected for a little while. Now we’re back though and I wore myself down enough that I have a cold. . .

    Happy Thanksgiving, by the way. I always forget it’s a month earlier in Canada.

    I’m going to endeavor to unplug more often, and you should too (sounds like you’re already working on it). Wishing you all the best.

    Reply
Sarah - October 28, 2017

Hi Gregory,

Great piece! I often have to remind myself that things will get done in due time. Generally I think I balance both rest and work equally, but sometimes I do feel I can’t ever truly relax. I personally enjoy keeping busy, even at odd hours of the night; I’ll find myself organizing and rearranging stuff around the apartment at 2am (I blame my inner interior designer). We must make it a habit to remind ourselves to relax and stop to smell the roses every now and then. How was camping?!

Reply
    Gregory Josephs - October 31, 2017

    Hi Sarah,

    I also enjoy being busy, but yeah—the roses aren’t going to smell themselves!

    Camping was good, until it started to rain like crazy and I ended up with a cold. I’m still glad we went, though. Thanks for stopping by. ☺️

    Reply
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