Give Me a Break

Everything starts to run slower every now and then and can be fixed if you unplug it then plug it back it. Even you. This sage advice is brought to you by the people who marketed the first home computers way back in the dark ages, like 1970something. That it’s still true today isn’t surprising. That you need to unplug even from unpluggedness isn’t something I would have before imagined.

When I was working I always looked forward to time off. Not a day or a weekend. Not a week around the holidays when you worked harder at cooking and cleaning and then celebrating and recovering than you did before taking the time off. Real time off. A week on a beach on an island that has spotty cell coverage and Wi-Fi is something you ask when questioning the use of the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet. That kind of time off.

If you’re still of working age I strongly urge you to consider using some of your time for actual time off. Even if it is just a day or a weekend, make it a day or a weekend of unpluggedness. Maybe you can use it to come up with a better word than unpluggedness. Lexicologists excepted. And if you’re still working then by all means take a break from not working.

Here’s my logic. As I said, when I was working I looked forward to my time off. I also looked forward to going to work. Yes, I was one of those people who loved my work. I didn’t mind if I was in early, worked through break times, worked late, worked extra, or covered others. Preferably not all in the same day but if it happened I still made the best of it. But even though I was doing what I loved I wasn’t going to be fooled into believing that sampler waiting to happen “when you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life” resembles truth. Doing anything well, even something you like, takes work. That’s how you get good at it. And work, even at doing something you like, is tiring. Exhausting even.

You need that break from work to recharge so you can do it again. That’s why so many companies have a “use it or lose it” policy regarding vacation time. No, it’s not so they can work you to death and then not give you what (you think) you’re entitled to. They have it so you’ll be forced to take time because so many seem to think that by denying yourself time off you’ll make it look like you’re such a great worker they can’t do without and you’ll never get let go. Actually, not taking time off only means you get burned out, end up doing a half-assed job, and get let go. That’s why I insisted those who worked in my department took their time off even if I had to schedule it for them myself. That’s also why, having managed to work myself up to a position of getting rewarded with 5 weeks of available time off each year I took as many of them as I could, often within a day or two of all five weeks. It might be why I enjoyed what I did. Because I took the time to recharge. Even when I was just starting and got all of two weeks vacation, between taking time off for the holidays and family activities, I always tried to take a couple of days off to just be off.

Now that I’m not working every day should be a holiday, right? Well, not so. You know that not working was not originally my idea. Those guys called doctors as well as those body parts called mine got together and decided it was better for my health, wellbeing, and continued living to start taking time off on a more or less permanent basis. Not working has not been fun, and I was sure it was because I wanted to work.  Ah, but I was wrong.

Perhaps at the beginning of not working, not working was not fun. But I’ve been not working for 3 years now. I should be used to it. Used to it I am. Enjoying it I am not. That is until I “took time off” from being off and started doing new things out of the routine that I had established in lieu of working. It really doesn’t matter what the routine is; what matters is that it is a routine. It was going to work at not working. But in the last 2 months I took a break from that. I didn’t a adhere to the routine, and I feel more refreshed, more positive, and more anticipating of returning to, you guessed it, my new old routine.

If I can keep taking some time off from myself like that more often, I might get used to this not working thing.

 

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2 comments

  1. Brilliantly written.
    Thank you!
    D in Florida🌷💌👣❤

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