How To Rest: Role Models Wanted

It is another weekend and I’m trying to rest.

It’s not going so well. Weekend is traditionally a work event for me. I do my artistic work, I work as a quizmaster on Sundays… gigs and catching up on admin, not to mention housework, are the name of the game. I also tend to see The Gentleman Caller on weekends (okay, totally borrowing the name off Captain Awkward…. I’ll write about naming confusion another time). Overall, weekends tend to be low on me-time and high on “clean up debris of the week/write some invoices”-time, with a date or a gig thrown in the mix. And I keep realising that this resting thing… I don’t know how.

There are articles on this. How millenials have to manage diverse career portfolios as well as actually survive, which – coupled with a capitalist outlook in which you should be productive at all times, and our constant connectivity (email 24/7!) – cause us to be in work mode basically every second. So that, plus my current model of life and work is a “muggle job” and my creative career and you can tell how that would mean some overtime. And all artistic role models I have ever followed tend to say the same thing, which is: YOU BETTER WORK. WORK HARDER. WORK HARDER THAN ANYBODY HAS EVER WORKED. And oh my god, I want to. But I might need some rest.

Over the years, I have tried several different types of work, creative and not. I feel the need to take some time and figure out what it is that I should be doing to survive and thrive. Has Beyonce ever taken a year off to Find Herself? I don’t actually know. I do know that my body has finally rioted, so I need to prioritise workouts and physio; my mind is not far behind, hence media fasts and getting recommendations for therapy; and every time I try to rest, I default to reading something on the screen, or doing more work (conversely, I often procrastinate when I HAVE to do work, which leads me to believe that I’m tired). I tried to take a nap the other day, it was so unnatural. I used to really enjoy drawing with a friend, but these sessions tapered off, and whenever I try to do anything like that, I get attacked by guilt because I’m Not Being Productive. There seems to be no way out of it.

I don’t mean to sound all that hopeless. But this mythical beast of Work/Life Balance seems exactly that, mythical. How do people do this? Some days I move seamlessly from one kind of work to another and it’s kind of nice that way – I’ll do housework, than admin, then cooking and I feel like I achieved something by the end. Other days, especially when I go to work for 8 hours (well, I leave 7.30 and come back 6 pm or later), it’s very hard to do anything more. I want to instill habits in myself – meditation, exercise, cleaning, frequent writing…. so far all I managed is a weekly blog. Which is a start.

Or maybe I’m just too tired? It’s hard to tell. So far, 2019 has seen me reduce sugar intake and increase exercise (hello, weekly swimming classes, how nice to see you), as well as change my contract from fulltime to 4 days a week. I quit one quiz. I hardly ever gig (and I miss it…). But I still feel the need to take time, to rest. What would it take for this life of mine to actually function? I have no answers yet.

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