Towards the end of last week, I was experiencing massive levels of stress. With my busy routine and relentless focus on work, I started to realise just how burnt out I was. The funny thing was the momentum I was gaining through social media of obtaining these results I always “wanted” kept pushing me further and further. Until I got to a point where I felt like I literally had nothing left.
In our day and age of the “self-starting entrepreneur”, they very much project this image of working “24/7”. To always and to continually be grinding, grinding and grinding. And if it’s your passion and something you love, sure that’s absolutely fine. But what I've recently learnt, is that when it’s at the expense of other things in your life; that’s when it starts to become a problem.
Every waking second, all I would focus on was my “career”. My stupid bloody illustration career. “Will it take off, will I succeed, will it go to where I want it to go”. 24/7, that’s literally all I would focus on. I felt this sense of “pursuing my passion”, yet I couldn’t figure out why I felt utterly miserable.
One Friday night some dear friends of mine invited me out to spend the night with them and go bar hopping. Traditionally speaking most “adults who take themselves seriously” don’t recommend going out “partying” with friends. It’s expensive, it’s taxing on your health and the late nights will leave you with a couple of days to recover.
Now I’m not trying to encourage people to go out and be completely reckless and party it up every night. This story is about my experience and dealing with personal struggles I was having. This is not a story where I’m advocating just how to “live your life” everyone needs to have the freedom to make their own choices and judge what’s right for them.
To reiterate where I was; I was at a point where I was taking myself way too seriously, continually focusing on work and was feeling utterly miserable. I was going through this notion of “if life is just constant work what’s even the point. Is this really why we have this gift of life?" A lot of entrepreneur podcasts would say such things as “You either live to work or work to live”. Most people I know who are incredibly social have this “work to live” mentality and out of fear of feeling like a “prisoner” in life I’d very much want to be a “Live to work” kind of person. Though I was at a stage where that’s all I was focusing on and wouldn’t leave much margin to have any fun.
I wouldn’t watch any of my favourite TV shows, I would spend less time with my friends and work was slowly becoming the priority over physical exercise. I felt my connections with people fading.
On this one night where I was out much past my “usual bedtime”, I felt all these things and experiences I felt was missing from my life. I felt this sense of adventure of being with my close friends and seeing where the night would take us. I had this feeling of connection in meeting lots of new people. I danced for a good portion of the evening to music that was just fun and bright and cheered me up.
Now I’m not trying to say I’m going to now devote my life to the “art of partying”. What I’m trying to say is that this was a good “reset” for me. A “holiday” almost. With this position of me taking myself so seriously, this evening really reminded me of the “fun hearted, easy going” side of me. This evening helped me give into that nature of just having fun. Which at times becomes entirely lost on me when I get, so career focused.
I’m not in any way now going to stop taking in a lot of the business and goal oriented content I love to consume, but this was such an eye-opening lesson in not losing value on the fun side of life. I’m not trying to say I won’t still relentlessly work on my goals but I realised how important a lot of other factors in life are to keep you happy and fulfilled.
I would get so wound up and worried about finical and professional aspects of my life that I would just forget to let go and have a bit of fun.
As mentioned before, I really want to stress that this story is merely in conjunction with my life. I really don’t want to advocate this as being “be all and end all solution” this was just something I wanted to write and share.
The main point I’m trying to advocate is schedule time for play and fun. Schedule time to have a laugh and do what makes you happy. Don’t worry about the mountain of expectations or what the adult world expects from you. Do the things that resonate with your heart, and make sure it’s not at the expense of more significant and essential things.
I want to highly encourage everyone who’s currently feeling incredibly stressed out to pencil in something fun, and light-hearted that they know will make them laugh.