We set out daily to accomplish task after task, get back home and rest. I once heard someone say to those who constantly wait for the weekend, they are abandoning 5/7ths of their lives. I have found myself caught up in the grind of weekdays consisting of mind numbing work, only for me to return home and do the thing I wanted to do. I make it a point to find work in my day to day life that is not going to numb my mind. If I let the blade dull for a moment, it will take me much longer to regain the sharpness that I had lost. My mind is always moving and because of that, sometimes even exciting tasks become dull to my senses.
I don’t mean this only within the guidelines of a workforce either. This happens within personal relationships and our passions too. Sometimes we pile so much onto ourselves that all the noise becomes mind numbing. Each task is just something we need to get done. I feel this way about food now, which is a shame to me because cooking has been a passion of mine for years. I focused so intently on my work and my job that eating regularly was kind of swept to the side. I just looked at each new plate as another pile of nourishment that I needed to consume so that I wouldn’t die. Eating became a dull task, and I instinctively remove dull tasks from my life, so I would forget to eat. I still regularly forget to eat because I don’t think about it, but it is not because I have forgotten the value or the importance of a home cooked meal, it’s simply because my mind is focused on other things nearly all the time.
When this happens, when we are drowning in our own projects or ideas we can grow weary and lose sight of our goals. Everything comes across as static to me when I am overwhelmed, or bored. Either extreme feeds me nothing. The weight of having innumerable tasks to complete bears down on me so much that the pressure suffocates me, and the vast emptiness of boredom on the other side saps all of the focus from me and I end up sitting in my chair staring at my computer wondering what to do. I spend so much time swinging between these two extremes that it begins to wear on me and I have to force myself to start over and get back on track.
I feel this so powerfully in moments between swings. When the pendulum is just close enough to solid ground for me to hear the noise of the homes, the oven timer, the alarm clocks and the radio below me before I am ripped back up to mind numbing boredom or blistering work routines.
In those short moments I would hear a dripping coming from the radio, a radio that I purchased to listen to my own thoughts and my own ideas in return. It is an introspective piece of me that I left behind as tremors rocked my home and set me off on this back and forth pattern. I am either writing thousands of words a day and working on YouTube videos or playing video games for much longer than usual, with no real goal or relaxation in mind behind the monotony.
Something that people don’t talk about, I think, is that being busy can be its own form of monotony. We can have hundreds of tasks lined up and eventually, they all become part of an assembly line. Write the book, plan a new book, edit the first book, writ the second book, upload youtube videos, record more videos, plan a third book, edit the second book, release the first book, blend your poetry into your blog, panic approaching release dates, push the dates back, write a fourth book, plan to release a second, create clothing, cook food for your girlfriend, go Christmas shopping, get gas, pay your bills, make sure you can have rent on time, write a sixth book, make sure your blog posts aren’t late, I guess you could take a break now right? Game for an hour. Oh your friends are on, another hour wouldn’t hurt. Okay three. Okay you’ve had enough of this, I wonder what’s on YouTube? Watch the same videos you’ve seen a hundred times. Cook. Consume. Watch a movie. Fit sleep in somewhere. Justify why you don’t spend time with anyone by telling them you’re terribly busy. Know you aren’t that busy, drown yourself with more books, poetry, food, movies, games, music, ideas, projects, passions, and then eventually that thread swinging you back and forth is inevitably going to grow weak…
What happens when it snaps?
I don’t want to know.
I want to sit at home, listening to my blood pump through the radio. Thinking about all I have done and knowing that I can swing away from it for a moment.
It is so easy to get caught up in this trap. Feeling as if we are useless and then drowning in work so that we truly become useless. I am all too familiar with the snare of it and its something I work to get out of every day. When I feel myself drifting too far in one direction I must swing to the other side and breathe for a moment or two and think about the opposite. Should I be working too much I know I need to go out, unwind. Should I be sitting at home watching YouTube or movies or playing games too much I should know to get back to work. Life is a balance, and in the center of it all is us, swinging from one side to another endlessly, wondering if we will ever make it back to solid ground, where hopefully, we can listen to the radio for a while, drink some coffee and rest, knowing that life doesn’t need to be a constant back and forth. We are allowed to take breaks, but we must know that there is a time to leave our break a while and do something we are passionate about. The soft buzz of monotony will destroy us from the inside out, at least, this is true for myself.
If you’re planning to wear something new to your New Years party this year, I have shirts available for sale on Teespring! (They will look great with fruit punch and puke on them.)