focusing on living

I’m going to cleverly pretend I haven’t skipped a month’s worth of blogs and instead jump right into it: we need to focus.

I don’t mean focus on a task, although surely that’s a real possibility. Instead, what I mean is focusing on existence. Focusing on knowing who we are and what we can do. Focusing on living, on making the most out of every day.

The truth is, I love movies. I love TV shows, Youtube videos, and generally wasting my life watching ridiculous things that make me forget my worries. Media is a more successful numbing device than most drugs because it’s socially acceptable.

Media, however, is the sort of thing whose excess can drain us of all our will. It’s not just that though. Everyone has that thing that wastes time. They have that area of their life where it’s easier to just go along with it than force yourself to stop and do something that you’d enjoy better.

You know what makes an artist good? Practice. Creative talents may limit the where and what of an artists’ content, but some good ol’ practice is the primary thing that makes them good at what they do. Cooking is the same thing. Exercising is the same thing. The bottom line is if you want to do something, you need to start doing it.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t rest. Of course, we should! We need to be still more. We need to drink coffee or tea in the morning and just let time itself be. We need more sleep, more downtime with people we care about, and plenty of other things. Absolutely we need to relax. My chief argument is with the habit we have of using activities as escapism, rather than approaching life as something we are living.

Maybe we feel controlled and limited by the things around us. That’s because we are. We limit others, and others limit us. When we exist in a social world, our lives end up entangling with each other, and it becomes harder to separate the individual from the group. Having that social trust and interaction is precious, above the individual at times.

Yet we also need agency. Your life is your own. We can give out our love, our time, our being to other people, but the only person who experiences what this world has to offer is you.  Your actions, whatever they end up being, fall on you.

So focus! Focus on existing, on asking yourself why are you doing what you are doing, and if it’s the right thing to do. Check in with yourself, we only have so much life to live.

another on why you should rest

There are numerous ways of being tired. There’s the tired in your bones, when you’re so weary and ready to be done. There’s the tired where you feel your eyes dropping, and sense this pool of sleep you could collapse into. There’s the tired where your body tingles with warmth from exertion and lying down is true bliss. They sometimes combine with each other in fun new ways, and rarely, we experience all three, full force at once.

But at some level, feeling tired can be guilt-inducing. Sure, you’ve done something to get you to that state of exhaustion, but those levels of tired don’t exactly make it easy to keep going. That’s because you shouldn’t. If you feel tired, it’s for a reason. Sometimes it means changing your sleeping habits to get more, other times it means finding help mentally, and sometimes you just wake up at the wrong part of your sleep cycle.

America tends to praise workaholics. Working until you burn out is a sort ot prize, it seems good to accomplish many things. But at some point, we have to look at if what we’re doing is forcing our bodies through the motions, or living our lives and enjoying every moment of it. Even if we love what we do, everyone needs a break from it. Life is meant to be diversified. If you’re working 24/7, you’re depriving yourself of rest and hurting yourself.

Everyone’s limit is different. Everyone’s limit can change gradually over time. But no one is immune to exhaustion, because everyone needs to rest.