Sometimes you are too sick to be productive.
In my life, sickness has always been the only way to get me to stop, or slow down at least, and rest. Whenever I get too busy, too stressed, and too overworked for too long, I get sick. It’s as simple as that. If I don’t take the time to find my balance, life finds it for me (not always in a pleasant way, either).
So, lying in bed the past four days, doing not much but reading fiction (a guilty pleasure from childhood I rarely indulge anymore), and drinking tea (except for that one day I tried to work from bed: setback #1), I have realized this: I have a really hard time not being productive.
What does this stem from? I could name a million things. I could give a hundred different “psychoanalysis” of my childhood, upbringing, experiences, etc. to prove why it has been drilled into me to always BE PRODUCTIVE. But would any of that help me just, “Let it go.”? No. And that is the crux of it. I have a hard time not being productive because I think my productivity defines me, shapes me, IS me. I like to be in control, or at least think I am. And how can I be in control of my life without being productive, without constantly “striving” to meet some goal, to make some goal, to plan, to dream, to be, do, have more, better, the best…?
This is when it hit me: grace is letting go. Of expectation. Of demands (on yourself and others). Of the illusion of control.
My life hasn’t worked out as I planned or expected. In fact, many of the things I have “planned” on succeeding at- even after I have reached the goal, met the challenge, accomplished the feat- it didn’t turn out to be what I wanted anyway. Or it led me in a completely new direction, away from the thing I thought I was working toward. Other “plans” were derailed by events or circumstances I had no control over.
I have long chided myself on not being a more “focused” person, or more “determined”, or more “single-minded.” The truth is, I am all these things, when I am passionate about what I am doing. The truth is also, I have many passions and much to be passionate about. So instead of beating myself up any longer about not being “where I expected to be” or “who I wanted to be” by “this time” in my life, instead of literally making myself sick by trying to be everything to everyone, I am going to live with grace. I am letting go.
And I am starting with things.
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or find to be beautiful.” -William Morris, 1834-1896