The other night Jeffrey and I were talking and he said something about how I'm always overworking myself, and for one second my brain computed that as a COMPLIMENT. The intent of his message was for me to slow down, but for a fraction of a moment I was proud that someone I love thought I was overworked. I feel like the amount of time one spends working is a common measure of success. Like, if you don't have time for leisurely, pleasant things then you're probably really successful. But why?
Running myself ragged doesn't make me a better or more dynamic or kinder human being. In fact, I'm pretty sure it does the exact opposite. I'd like for success to be measured in the number of times I laugh in a day. In how many times Woody wags his tail. In a home glowing with candles. In warmth and breeze and freckles on my shoulders. In flowers and walks with my nieces and in mundane trips to Target with people I love. In pie shared with friends. In phone calls home. In making cookies on a Friday night.
When I was teaching and I wanted to leave work on time, I remember sneaking out (sneaking! out!) of the building because I was so worried that my colleagues would see me and silently judge me for not staying beyond my contractual obligation (just to be clear, this had everything to do with my own insecurities and nothing to do with my actual colleagues). When I left teaching it was partially because the overworked part of my brain was falling apart into three million pieces and I could no longer stand the thought of my tired, broken body bending down to collect them.
I've done the work to get to a place where overworking myself is no longer a priority and I've determined where I want to expend my energy. But there's still a piece of me that feels guilty for taking the lunch break or for walking out the door when my work day is technically done and others still sit at their computers.
But I'll tell you one thing: on Saturday, as we walked down to the waterfront to see the cherry blossoms in bloom and talked about our plans to enjoy falafel in a tiny, bustling restaurant, my heart was full and I felt nothing but happiness and gratitude and love and maybe even a little bit of success.