AC Gaughen: Everybody’s Working for the Weekend
September 07, 2012 at 12:00PM
What do we work for?
Within the past few days, Michelle Obama spoke about her roots in a hardworking family, and I went to a really amazing panel with Boston GLOW called How to Burn Bright without Burning Out, and I have thoughts.
Thoughts, I tell you, thoughts.
And this is the question I come to: what do we work for? What do I work for?
I doubt many of you would be shocked to know that writers tend to do much more than write. I have a day job–which is technically a night job–which does helpful things like pay bills. I work with the aforementioned non-profit, which does similarly helpful things like nourish me and make me feel like I have some kind of control to make my own decisions and enact change that can begin and end with me. I also have a part time job working with another non-profit, and I can’t really tell if that’s because I’m an overachiever or because I like that organization.
Oh, and I’m a writer. How about that.
So I’m busy. There’s certainly a self-satisfied importance to saying I’m busy–it makes me look cool, doesn’t it? “How am I? Great! So busy.” There’s an anti-lazy satisfaction to actually being busy–at the end of the day, when I’m exhausted, I mostly feel like I’ve earned it instead of, like, not having taken my vitamins.
But what does it REALLY mean? What am I doing it for?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about priorities and rest–the anti-busy, if you will. Because a book launch is hectic enough, but no writer’s life and book launch exist in a vacuum. And adding all the rest of it onto it makes you feel like Diet Coke is the only thing keeping you upright. Plus I’m not the most reliable sleeper, which, you know, never helps.
So for, say, six months, my life was just a wild game of catch up. Always behind, always stopping the gap, like the duck in the aflac commercial sticking his bill in boat holes. Water was filling, and I needed rest.
In short, I was close to burning out. Or maybe I was burned out, just short of totally catatonic. I’m not sure of the exact definition of burned out.
Hence bloggy silence.
So I tried to rest–take some time off, actually discover the meaning of sleep, watch tv for about 16hrs straight. See what this whole sunlight thing people keep talking about is.
I did. That’s not technically hard to do.
But it didn’t really have the immediate effect I was looking for, and it’s only recently that I’ve really understood the difference between sleep and rest.
Michelle Obama talked about how talking to all these people across the nation inspired her, and the dynamic women at the panel (check this for a run-down, btw) talked about passion, and love for your work. This is nothing new on this blog, and kind of a traditional topic for a writer, I imagine.
But what I’ve learned is that rest comes from inspiration. From friendships and really good talks and laughing and enjoying the weather, from something new and special. Instead of sleep, that feeling of not wanting to ever fall asleep for fear of losing the thought, losing the moment, losing this thing, this emotion that you can’t ever capsulate or lock into something finite, like a picture. And yet they’re the same moments that are worth taking pictures of.
So to the friends of mine, the amazing women of GLOW, the readers that send me beautiful notes (and artwork! Check out this supercool fanart by Alicia —> I especially love the fall foliage because fall is my FAVORITE EVER time of year and it’s almost heeerrrrreeee!!) who give me rest by giving me love, you are so awesome. And so very much appreciated.
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