When is it okay to shut off?
Look at me, all sticking to my word and shit. You didn’t see that coming, did you? I know, I know — in many a ways, neither did I. Two posts in two weeks. It’s a lot to take in. All I can say is thank goodness we have that extra day. Gotta love long weekends, right?!
A few interesting things have occurred this past week. Firstly, a really odd and unexpected job interview went down. Note: don’t be fooled by my use of “odd” and “unexpected”. While they can also be used to describe an amazing, unprecedented opportunity, let it be said, this is NOT one of those stories.
In fact, I was on the brinks of unconsciously, steering my life down an alternate (and massively controversial) path. One that likely counteracts everything I have done so far, and everything I am too.
But I won’t go into details now. This one’s worthy of a story time on my Youtube Channel. P.S. if you wish to check out the VLOG of the day this post was captured, check it out below.
The most IMPORTANT thing that happened this week obviously, was my birthday! That’s right. I’m another year older and another year none the wiser so far— but hey, I’ll let you know when I stop tripping on leaves. That is, if it turns out to be a force of habit as opposed to what it feels like: a personality trait.
My birthday itself was great. It involved a surprise visit from my best friend, lots of very loving phone calls and messages, a similar amount of coma-inducing food, a few sneaky (not-so-sneaky) G&T’s and a whole load of laughs too. It’s safe to say this one ticked all the boxes.
And the best part: it’s not over yet! Yet to come is a well-anticipated surprise trip of which A.J. has planned for my birthday/our anniversary.
More than the excuse to keep celebrating, there’s a particular reason I’m looking forward to this trip away. It’s the chance to properly shut off. Am I the only one who battles massively with this?
Both fortunately and unfortunately, I’m someone who strongly believes in the value (and utilisation) of every moment. I think that we are granted with a series of single opportunities. And sometimes, reaching our potential relies on our readiness to seize each one — as opposed to, say, opting for the couch.
I’ve always believed that you (and your resulting life) are a compilation of how you react in these moments. As a result, it has been subconscious for me to always choose action over rest.
I’ve since learnt that the couch is really not as bad as they (or I) proclaim. That sometimes, we actually need the couch too.
In fact, to read each moment as an opportunity to be either utilised or sacrificed, is not always a positive outlook to have. Sometimes, for the sake of our own sanity, we should read a moment as just that: a moment to be in.
Much alike to my previous post about stress, I feel like shutting off is an equally important topic to discuss — especially with many individuals heading into exams soon. During this period, we often feel like we can’t pause. We don’t deserve it. We haven’t done enough. Each hour is one that we ought to spend studying.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen the value of endless hours of study. I’ve always preferred the smart, concise approach. I figure that once you know what works for you, and you enact it, there’s no need to do it 10 more times (unless, of course, you’re memorising information).
When it comes to work, however — whether that’s writing, editing, networking or getting ahead on digital media marketing tasks — there is no cut-off point for me. A point where I’m satisfied and don’t feel that I could do more.
I always endeavour to go above and beyond. It’s not enough to do a good job — I also have to stand out. Be available when someone else wouldn’t be; provide more than the next person too.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this aspect about myself. It indicates an inherent passion for what I do and my drive to be the best at it. It’s comforting to know that if I wanted to make something happen, I would never have to question if I have enough tenacity, determination or perseverance. I know I do.
That being said, it’s also a bit of a concern — that I never shut off. When most people call it for the day, and do so with a sigh of relief, I struggle to do so at all.
And while it may sound all sunshine and roses — like I complete 10 x what everyone else does and with a smile on my face — this isn’t always true. In fact, it doesn’t impact me positively in the long run at all.
Eventually, I feel run down. I feel like my mind is clogged; like it’s perpetually ticking over, and only pausing for sleep (just to resume in a different way, by compiling dreams and thoughts and imaginations).
I feel like I lose my ability to relax into a moment — and more importantly, to indulge in spontaneous and senseless fun, the way I used to when I was younger.
Oh god. Maybe this is how adults lose all sense for their younger, more fun selves. You can understand why I’m hoping to nip it in the bud, before I stop hysterically laughing for good.
Here’s the semi-conclusion I’ve arrived at so far: if you have to question when to relax, chances are that you aren’t naturally allocating this time. To myself, and to all others who struggle with this: the answer is yes. You do NEED a day off, an hour or even a few minutes. We can’t just go and go and go forever. It’s not healthy — nor is it satisfying.
At the end of the day, we all want more to show for ourselves than solely the work we do. We want memories and fun and laughter and LIFE too. From time-to-time, we want to ditch the stress entirely. To leave it at work or at uni — and to replace it with happiness and freedom of mind instead.
Indeed, all moments present to us ample opportunity. But here’s the thing: to utilise these for relaxation is not dismissing this opportunity. It’s maximising it as well. After all, opportunity for contentment is just as valuable towards our progression as the work-related kind.
I recently watched a video about the glorification of productivity, hard work and “the hustle”. It talked about the negative effect of promoting the no-sleep, all-work lifestyle; how people kill themselves (in a figurative and literal sense) attempting to fulfil it. Many fall victim to this belief that round-the-clock work is what they MUST to do to be admired or to succeed in today’s fast-paced society.
On viewing this, I felt somewhat guilty. Like I’d played the small part I could in perpetuating this trend. I’d lived and promoted “the hustle” and never really outlined when or how “the hustle” took a vacation. I didn’t know myself. And no one was offering the answer.
I’ve since discovered why: it’s because only you can decide when the hustle takes a break. And it’s not at all wrong to do so. Majority of the time, when we return to our grind from a break, we come back with more motivation than ever.
Speaking of, regular readers will know that fashion is a way I like to perpetuate my own motivation. In the following post, and also in my everyday life, I’ve been sporting the SYD Neoprene Tote by Chuchka, as a slightly different source for motivation than is typical of me.
Since arriving in Melbourne, I’ve spotted these bags EVERYWHERE on the shoulders of your everyday, fashion-forward and contemporary women. I’d admired from afar for a long while, noting the practical size as well as the neoprene material — a trans-seasonal trend I’ve always coveted.
I was officially introduced to the brand at a private showing at MBFW. Here I received my first prized possession: a lovely personalised wallet. Post Fashion Week, conversation between I and the founder, Stefanie Schwartz, continued. What become of this back-and-forth was more than a collaboration — but an understanding for the shared aims of Chuchka and Currently Loving.
Chuchka understands where everyday women are at. The brand fills a gap in fashion by being both contemporary AND affordable. Long-lasting AND on-trend. Based at Bondi Beach, their bags depict a humble awareness for fashion, but also for something even more significant: the importance of being able to enjoy our everyday lives.
On my arm, this tote is a reminder. Of the beach, of watching surfers wake so peacefully in Manly.. and mostly, of taking time.
It’s easy to allow for an idea about life — that perhaps we or society has curated — to completely take over who we are and the way we live our days. We can forget the way we started: with a fondness for running along the beach and for splashing in the waves.
Remember when we had the time and the patience for building sandcastles? If only we let ourselves shut out the world the way we once did as fascinated, playful kids.
Much like Chuchka, life begins with the essentials. A sunny day. A clear mind. A positive spirit. It’s time we took it back to these things.
Good luck throughout the exam period, and always.
P.S. Because I’m going away and have like 2308534 tasks to do before I leave, don’t expect me to commit to this weekly post thing next week. HA. We could only commit two weeks in a row. Impressive, McKenzie. Nice. This whole rest thing is going well for you.
Wearing: White Fox Love Lies pants, General Pants Co. off-the-shoulder top, Topshop biker jacket, Windsor Smith boots, Chuchka SYD Neoprene Tote.
Photos by Adrian Jackson