A Rich and Well-Rounded LIfe

(Always Grinding? Post continued…) I have always talked about the importance of not just working. Even if you really, really enjoy your work, it’s not healthy to hyper-focus on just one aspect of your life. That was another reason that my restaurant career burnt me out. It didn’t allow for the time to keep my life well rounded. I wasn’t able to have the social life I wanted and needed. I didn’t have the intellectual stimulation that I craved. Nor did I have the athletic and competitive outlets that are important to me.

When I left cooking I was able to start playing Ultimate Frisbee again and get back into shape over a course of years. I was able to see my wife more and we often have friends over for dinner as a social outlet. Then my business got busier and child no. 2 came along. And, I fell back into a pattern of always “grinding.” Work, family, sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat. Even my hobbies became burdens. I have a huge garden that just felt like a chore this spring and brought me tons of stress.

I would tell myself that I would work my ass off Monday through Thursday and then do “nothing” on Friday. And, I would either still work all day on Friday or get to Friday and still be so revved up from the week that couldn’t enjoy any down time. At that point I realized that something had to change. But what was that something?

Turns out it was more than one thing. One of my first epiphanies was that I don’t actually like to do “nothing.” I usually require more stimulation than that. So I was setting myself up for failing at relaxing when I was assuming that relaxation meant doing nothing. I also realized that I was putting more on my plate than was necessary. I chose to take on some huge projects in the garden this spring that needed to be completed before I could plant. Big mistake. I’m not going to do that again. I’ve worked this summer to complete any “infrastructure” upgrades to the garden for next year. That’s made the garden much more enjoyable. AND that’s what I’ve been doing during my down time this summer. Instead of feeling like a failure for not doing nothing, I’ve been out in the yard digging, edging, raking, planting and planning.

The funny thing is that I find being in the yard/garden for two hours in the morning more restful, relaxing, and restorative than I would lying on the couch and watching TV. Then the time I do spend in the office is more productive and the time I spend with the kids is of higher quality too. Who knew?

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