This weekend I set out to do nothing and that is exactly what I achieved.
I laid in bed until 1 on both Saturday and Sunday, ate lunch with my Texas family and friends, took naps, watched Django Unchained at the dollar theater, strolled Town Lake, played bocce ball and had 100% non-work related conversations with my creative partner (Geoff).
Simple and sweet.
This weekend might not sound particularly noteworthy, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered that these common tasks are often difficult to achieve.
Going freelance has been both creatively fulfilling and mentally debilitating.
At times I’m afraid to stray away from the computer out of fear that I must be “creating” something or being “productive” at all times.
Even before I went freelance, I felt that I had to be “moving forward” every day, otherwise I’d stall.
I’d grow old, miss opportunity and wonder what the hell I did with my life.
Obviously this logic doesn’t bode well for life-work balance.
In fact, my concerns of “missing out” and wondering what the hell I’m doing with my life are now said when I realize that I’ve mostly stayed at home, writing, and in a mindset unfit for conversing with the general public.
I spoke with an entrepreneur last week who said that she doesn’t answer work emails after 6PM during the week and on weekends. Simple enough idea, but you would have thought someone just whispered the secrets of the universe into my ear.
At some point I stopped paying attention to how glued to my phone, social media and computer I was. How when I’m bored, I pick up my phone and get lost into this “other world” that is not the one I’m currently in. How I fret that I must blog every day, tweet something humorous or Facebook post something of note.
That I judge my writing career in terms of virtual likes or dislikes.
Is my outfit Pinterest-worthy?
If I’m enjoying this real life moment, I must step out and take the perfect photo to Instagram it.
I find myself zoning out in conversations, thinking about an idea or what I could be creating right now. I haven’t actually listened to what the person said. Not only is this rude, but an excellent example of actually “missing out.”
I think every habitual Internet user comes to the comical realization that their life is completely out of whack due to time spent online. It’s a disgustingly bourgeois problem, albeit a very real one.
Many of us forget that long walks, naps and simple conversation are as important as trying to be “productive” every single day.
the area of pause by Charles Bukowski
you have to have it or the walls will close
you have to give everything up, throw it
away, everything away.
you have to look at what you look at
or think what you think
or do what you do
without considering personal
without accepting guidance.
people are worn away with
they hide in common
their concerns are herd
few have the ability to stare
at an old shoe for
or to think of odd things
like who invented the
they become unalive
because they are unable to
listen to their untrue
I can relate to this SO hard.As I try hard to connect and start getting more freelance work, my mind is full of everything that goes on in social media. I constantly over-consume it all , and then when my children come home from school, I’m barely listening to them, and barely alive in this here world! Thanks for sharing!
That sounds like me, minus the kids, but I’m sure if I had kids I’d be the same way. It’s so difficult! I’m hoping I can continue being conscious of my addiction, but it will be challenging…
A while back I read a post from a local work at home mom who said the best thing she ever did for her business was to set office hours for herself and make them known to her clients. We lose sight of that working from home. And it took me a ridiculously long time to convince myself that I didn’t have to insta-instagram everything. 🙂
It is VERY easy to lose sight of that (as I’m writing this at 10:40pm). I hope I can break the habit…
I can relate to this post at this time in my life. I think you put it perfect! I am bookmarking this 🙂 thank you
Thanks for reading, Nadeen!!!
I super agree with you here. Since mid-February I haven’t had an internet connection in my apartment (gasp! the horror! lol). Luckily I am not dependent on the internet to make my living (although I hardcore admire others who can!). So until I got a laptop recently (I have had a desktop for five years) I was dependent on the library for internet access. And even after this new laptop’s arrival I have to leave my apartment for wi-fi. I love it. I’m more productive online, I spend less time online, and I don’t miss the internet as much. I LIVED online in college so this feels weird at times but I am so glad that in my apartment it is just me and an old VHS-playing/dvd player TV (and my boyfriend). No smartphone either. And uh, we listen to records. Un-ironically. 😉
Good for you for spending a weekend just living! I spent the whole day Sunday reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed in bed. So intense.
No, good for YOU for not having the Internet. It sounds heavenly! What is Wild?
A super intense (but good) book about a woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in the mid-nineties. It’s a memoir. Cathartic but also very powerful. I sorta-recommend it (it felt a little Eat, Pray, Love-y to me at times).
And thanks! I’m sitting here at my local library using the wi-fi.
It must be INSANE being a freelancer. I work in an office and I’m already pretty much half way there. I always have to remind myself, “Your job is a designated time for you to get specific things done, not something you’re doing all the time.”
Ironically, for me it started with being in the office and not doing work-related stuff (like right now, haha). I’d start thinking “Well, I messed around a little bit today, so it’s normal if I work after 5pm.”
But no. That’s THE WORST. With that mentality, I’m worse at work and worse at life.
I feel like today’s technology and today’s competitive paradigm lend themselves to a culture where working very much resembles not-working, but at the same time, you’re ALWAYS working. And I think that we all have to watch ourselves and make sure we don’t get too stuck in that mode.
I spend a good part of each morning cruising the Internet (a couple of news sites, Blogs, and F/B)
Ironically, I started to read your post, but, in the middle of reading it, got up, had a brief discussion with a housemate, refilled my coffee cup and checked my email, then came back and finished reading this
Well don’t I feel like a noob. Bukowski’s wisdom may apply to life in general but what gets in our way creatively is a real motherfucker. Last week I had the most creative stretch of days (5) I’ve ever had in 23 years of writing. Then came the downtime: 3, 4, 5 days of “doing nothing” ( it’s actually called living your life ). Then comes the day I think it’s back, all the juices are flowing but EVERYTHING is rushing in and it’s too much information, an inspiration overload. What do I do? I drink it off. Try not to have feelings about it one way or the other. Consequently, it was the most “productive” downtime I’ve had in just as long.
Now the muse is back and life is good. I’m tempted to write a blog about it but I’m still working that out. Hence the poem. Great blog, Ms.Crite.
Jim! and Ms. Hipstercrite! True! I just keep coming back to these sentiments this week. I’m looking at a bunch of art projects on Pinterest and reading all my fvorite writer’s Twitter feeds and I’m not writing or making art. Then I go on Hulu and watch 25 clips in a row of Louie or SNL or something else that ends up being two minutes and two minutes and two minutes equals three hours.
It’s first world problems, but it is a problem. I’m getting off the computer, reading a book, and drinking tea. I’m going to use my imagination.
WAIT. where the F is the dollar theater?!!!
it is in round rock off of i-35. it’s actually $2, but i call it the dollar theater. it’s great!