A Change is as Good as a Rest

You may have noticed that it’s Christmas. (Yeah, no kidding, right?) In addition to your normal workload, there’s been shopping, party planning (and party-going), gifts to wrap, foods to bake, a whirl of “optional” activities in a month that by rights should be calm and cozy.

Calm and Cozy?

Seriously! Because of the cold and the long nights, in times past, people just hunkered down with family, kept a good fire going, and went to bed early. They’d been working almost non-stop since the ground warmed up in the spring, and they were due a rest.

Nowadays very few of us follow the rhythm of the seasons our agrarian forebearers did. There’s not real reason you have to, if you have your own season of rest. But most people don’t and that’s the problem.

Sure, you say, I’ll relax after the holidays. In January, we things aren’t so crazy.

That’s not going to happen.

You’re not going to make New Year’s resolutions? You’re not going to notice the pervasive Hoo-Ah! atmosphere of the entire Western world girding its loins to do better this year?

Nope. Your only hope for Calm and Cozy is this:


Does it sound extreme? It isn’t. You have one week until the new year. Seven days. Statistically, what are your chances of doing everything you wanted to do this year, in that time? Nil.

I myself had airy-fairy plans of clearing my to-do list and starting the year with a blank slate. Common sense re-emerged to remind me that I over-schedule myself now, and I will over-schedule myself in 2014 too.

I won’t rest in December. I won’t rest in January. I will never, ever rest — unless I change something now.

I need to get rid of the old to make way for the new; projects I’m not excited about, maintenance I might as well farm out, great ideas that just aren’t me. I need to clear all that away so the fun re-emerges, like the sun on the Winter Solstice.

Maybe a change is as good as a rest.

How about you? What do you need to change to make room for what you really want?


5 thoughts on “A Change is as Good as a Rest”

  1. Good post.

    Here’s one way to look at it: The things you do are the things you “care about”, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing them. And without numbers to prove it, no one that I know or have ever known was forced into living their lives the way they did—I’m sure there are people but I estimate their numbers to be very low. They chose it and they could change it at any time with minimal penalty. Now back to making room for things one “really wants” to do. I personally think that’s irrelevant. I’d like to talk about “care” rather than “want”. But that’s me and my interpretation. And it allows me to simplify things: Everything I’m not doing is everything I don’t care about. That also solves another big problem: I should pursue things I spent time on the most because I care about them, not the things I wished or hoped I would do.

    I’m sure I’ve gone way off tangent here but I thought it was worth mentioning.

  2. oxplot I think “care” is an excellent metric. It’s one that’s meaningful to you, and it’s probably got a bundle of heuristics wrapped up in it that belies its somewhat simplistic appearance. Me, I tend to frame things as being “worth” doing. Worth is another tricky word, because the connotations it has for me, personally, are not shared by the world at large. I find it worthwhile to have a very tidy and orderly desk and office, while others might find that to be needlessly fastidious. I have only recently come to find it “worthwhile” to sweat for any reason other than the fact that I’m getting paid for it, but the data on the risks of being sedentary finally swayed me. Mostly what I find worthwhile is seen through the lens of the person I want to be and the type of impact I want to have on the world. 

    Thanks for bring this up. I think it’s a very important aspect!

  3. oxplotI don’t disagree, oxplot, but I have to add a cautionary note: 
    what ya (generalization, not *you* in particular) spend the most time or energy on, <i>may</i> have little to do with what really moves your soul. 
    We do have a lot of passed-down baggage to sort through …

  4. Karen J There’s a really good http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html about people who go through life not knowing what it is they love doing—what you call moving their soul. I pretty much agree with all of it, except how he differentiates the two types of people. Take me for example, I’m a software engineer and creating software does move my soul. But not all of it. Thinking about a problem, finding a solution and writing code to make it happen is what I love to do. Writing documentation, not so much. But I do it, because it’s necessary. Now take someone who does 9-5 working a job they hate just so they can earn enough money to do what they love to do on the weekend. To me, that’s the “documentation writing” part of their passion. Both of us are working towards doing what we love. The difference between us is that I’ve maximized the time I spend doing what I love and they haven’t.
    And so I agree with you. There’s room for revision of my first post.

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