One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that leisure is just as important as labor. And you have to work just as hard to be successful at either.
My story starts there. In 2016, I decided I’d labored too hard and leisured not enough. It’d been 8 long years. I’d put myself through business school, established a successful career in my field, and lived in two of the greatest cities in the country, New York City and San Francisco. I was working 10-12 hour days with a beautiful view (from behind the computer screen), a beautiful apartment (that cost too much money) and a lively city (I was too tired to enjoy). Something had to change.
Ask yourself: Are you happy when you wake up in the morning?
It is so valuable to know and understand this question. We crawl out of bed each morning for a reason. Then commit half our waking life to a purpose and people of our choosing. Are you happy to what you wake up to? Is it what you’re passionate about, or will it get you there? Have your passions changed?
Everyone has to make money. But not everyone has to be miserable.
I, for one, was not happy when I woke up. I’d become a professional workaholic and achieved the success I’d sought out for. But with that success my health was plummeting. I suffered from depression and insomnia; anxiety attacks and OCD. It was then I realized that success didn’t guarantee health or happiness. And I had to accept that maybe I’d been wrong all along.
You must be grateful for these lows, for without them, things are “just okay” enough to keep going. You fall into a state of contentment, which is calm and unchanging. While discomforts are the true blessing. I thanked my stars and in 18 months, would position myself professionally, mentally and financially for extended leave. I quit my job, sold all my belongings, and hit the road.
My priority now was happiness. I don’t know where I’ll go or when I’ll come back, but what I do know, is that I’ll never, ever again work that hard to be unhappy.