I was reading 24 Hours – a free subway newspaper on Thursday. I’m not cheap – really! I just refuse to pay for a newspaper because there is so much fake news out there. DONALD TRUMP just hacked my account! Just kidding. News is everywhere now, and I really get mine online. I read 24 Hours to pass the time on the subway and I like the crossword puzzle. I wrote quite awhile ago about how they improve your memory – remember? Anyway, there is a writer, Shaun Proulx, who has a column called “Spirit and the City” that I like to read each week. This week, he focused on “The Spirit and Scheduling – Learn to Live Life in the Slower Lane” where he discussed how great it was that a trip to NYC that he and his partner were planning was cancelled and it left them with a weekend completely free to not worry about commitments of any kind.
He pointed out that being busy has become a point of honour today, along with being “exhausted” and “having no time”. That’s how we define our success and even our worthiness today. Think about how many times you’ve said how busy you are, or rolled your eyes when you talked about having a “family obligation” on the weekend, or “I have plans that I’m trying to get out of”, or “I have to see my friend(s)…INSERT BIG SIGH…I’d much rather stay home….” I’m guilty of all of these things – I’m sure most of you are too. Reading it in black and white (as I’m proofreading) makes it all the more insufferable in a Gwyneth Paltrow kind of way. When did we become so important, that our family and friends have become obligations that we have to fulfill rather than people who we should appreciate? I play the busy card, but I no longer find the exhaustion that comes from work stress or home stress rewarding…I just find it…tiring.
When I was in New Orleans in November, for fun, I went to a psychic in Jackson Square, after all, it is the thing to do. She told me that 2017 was going to be a year of great change for me. She said that some of it won’t be good, but it will all get me to where I need to be. Since the start of 2017, there has been, let’s just say, a lot of upheaval that has made me rethink things. Proulx had some great tips in his article (24 Hours, Thursday, February 16, 2017, Vol. 14, No. 68) that were dead on:
- “Redefine what success means to you…when you die no one will talk about how much money you made, how many hours you worked, or how packed your calendar was. They’ll only remember how you made them feel.” This is probably the smartest thing that I’ve ever read. For the longest time, I had certain career goals. I wanted to make a certain amount of money before I turned 40 and I did, I wanted to reach a certain level and I did, I wanted to win awards and I did…but after the initial joy of each of these wears off, in 24 hours, if truth be told, I’m left with the fact that for too long I lived to work. I’m never going to do a crappy job, it’s not in my nature, by I’ve learned, especially with where I am in life now, that I’m not saving lives, not even close.
- “Work harder is no longer a modern concept. Most times doing so only leads to burnout, from which you need to work harder?…to recover from. Ask yourself how much hard work is enough and start calling it a day before dark.” Let’s be realistic, before dark is 4:00 – and very few people leave work at that time. I have though, started scheduled things on certain days so that I can leave work at a more reasonable time.
- “More me time….whatever it takes to put yourself first so you feel joy, relaxed….” He goes on to provide a list of me time hobbies. There are things that I love, like dance class that totally de-stresses me so I’ve made it a priority again. Reading de-stresses me – except last year, when I didn’t read the 35 books that I told you all about. This year, I signed up for a 50 book challenge as punishment : ) I love travel (which I’ll get back to writing about, promise), writing, finding ways to love my city, art, concerts, calculated risks, movies and really bad TV shows, but if you can watch “Revenge Body by Khloe Kardashian” or “Mob Wives” and not feel like it was good use of an hour of your time, then you need to get your priorities straight. They are as golden to me as “Jersey Shore”. I can feel you silently judging me, and that’s ok.
- “Digital detox…Challenge your loved ones to turn their phones off when you are together. And you too. Be 100% engaged with whomever you are with”. I’m so guilty of being on my cell all the time. I’m guilty of having it on the table when I’m out with friends. I’m guilty of playing Soda Crush or Crossy Road when I’m on the phone with family and friends (some of us still talk on the phone…weird huh?). I’m guilty of answering work emails regardless of where I am including walking on the side walk to the subway on my way home. I know it’s wrong and I also know that I need to be more present. Shame on me. I’m going to try to take one day a month and not even look at my phone. Not even once. I’ll let you know how that goes.
- “Be a kid….Start a snowball fight, get your hands dirty with a DIY project, turn on some music and dance, break a rule, crank call your mother. Whatever makes you ugly snort from laughing so hard, do.” Snowball fights are a nightmare for me, the only thing I DIY is changing a light bulb, if I even call my mother before 10am, I’m in trouble. I’m game to break a rule though, I’m going to call her at 9:55! I ugly snort, a lot more than I like to admit to, it’s actually called my hyena laugh thank you very much, and everything from Helen Keller jokes (I deserve to be judged for this), Mindy Kaling and any kind of ridiculousness can inspire this.
This was such a great article – read it yourself: http://eedition.toronto.24hrs.ca/epaper/viewer.aspx