Does anyone else feel like they’re rushing all the goddamn time? Over the last few months in particular, I feel like I’m always ‘on’. At any one moment I’m doing something important or planning on how I’m going to do something important in the future. I understand that this is pretty much what a full and meaningful life is made from but sometimes it can all be a bit too much.

The solution was my announcement, first thing Monday morning, that for the first time in 12 years of freelancing, I will officially be taking a week of annual leave. I have of course had time off before but it has always been for an external purpose - a forced break over christmas or a week away for a family gathering. While all of these were fabulous and fun, they served a greater purpose. This week of annual leave is purely because I need it. I need to slow down and smell the roses.

Even though this break is all about me, I’m taking it during the first week of school holidays so we don’t have to worry about childcare for a week. Unfortunately being a parent doesn’t have any annual leave attached. The kids however have been warned that I will be prioritising my relaxation over their wellbeing which they seemed to take quite well. 

Reflecting back on the last few months I can clearly see what's happened. We’re starting to gain momentum. All of the seeds we’ve been planting and nurturing for years are finally starting to grow. Tiny little green shoots are starting to emerge all over the place. A conversation 18 months ago has turned into a contract. A chance meeting 12 months ago has morphed into a collaboration. A simple repost has led to VIP visitors and industry connections. Our patience is starting to pay off.

Unfortunately our ‘patience’ hasn’t felt calm and reflective like I imagine patience should. It has been closer to a complete and utter shit storm of never ending problems and stress. Quite the opposite in fact, of a zen-like state of tolerance and acceptance of the natural order of things. 

I blame society of course. Never in the whole of human history have we been wound so tightly. In Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkemans there is a chapter called ‘Pathological Productivity’ and the title says it all. We just don’t stop. EVERYONE is so fucken busy! If you’re lucky we’re busy doing things that we love, things that might make the world a better place. Unfortunately we can also be super busy doing shit we don’t want to do. Working a shitty job just to make ends meet or sitting in traffic for 10 hours a week instead of hanging out with our loved ones.

There is always something and when there's not we panic. Well I do. Yesterday for example I managed to get my to-do list completed before lunch. I have been working monster days of late so the idea of being ahead for a minute should have been a great excuse to rest and relax. Maybe watch something shitty on YouTube, go for a walk or call my sister. Instead I just got agitated. You see, I’ve fine tuned my schedule so much and am so organised with my time that I have already called my sister (Tuesday Lunch time when I walk around the lake) and I’ve been on my walk (while talking to my sister). 

The things I do to relax and rest have been built into my schedule because I don’t want to miss out on them. We go for bush walks on Sunday. I walk on Tuesdays. I do yoga every other day. I eat takeaways on Friday. Everything is so fucken organised that a free afternoon, when I should have been working made me cross! What kind of monster have I become! 

I’m embarrassed. It made me realise how ingrained I’ve become in my own existence. This obviously has benefits of course. You need that level of dedication and discipline to grow businesses and families, maintain friendships and keep healthy. What I’ve overlooked is the growth that comes in absence of all the other things. The benefits of taking yourself out of the everyday schedule and opening yourself up to the moment. 

I love not rushing! I love stopping to smell the roses. Some of my favourite stories are the ones where I’ve just gone with the flow. Like striking up a conversation on the train with a lady who has now become a dear friend that I lunch with every few months (lets book another one in Sue!). Going to a gig by yourself just to support a friend because you’re their bestest fan! Actually stopping to chat to someone in the street as if you have all the time in the world for them. I love that. Not only does it make me feel good but it normally makes someone else's day well. It’s a double win.

While my annual leave is still a month away I’m very excited about it and proud that I’m taking it. It sounds silly but when you're self-employed it's REALLY hard to take time for yourself. So many of the business owners I know just don’t have breaks because when they’re away, business stops. This is a dark side to the romantic idea of being your own boss. 

In lieu of my botched free afternoon yesterday, I’ve given myself the afternoon off today, because I am the boss. One of my most favourite things to do is meander through Op Shops and Ballarat has some of the best. I’m going to spend the next 2-3 hours looking at people's old shit and see if I can’t find some kind of outrageous shirt or funky vase to celebrate the time I’ve scheduled in (ironically) for myself.

Video of the week
Michael Richards & Seinfeld getting coffee
Podcast of the week
Who Shat: E1 A crime was committed
Font of the week
Picholine Antique: Font of the week by Manic Type

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