I work hard. Like really hard. When I interview for jobs or talk to students about what I do when I’m not grading all of their sketchbooks and projects, I list out all the things I’m working on. Usually before I actually finish the list people look completely overwhelmed or just stop me (If you want a full list, I’ll be happy to relay it to you). These days I always chuckle a little bit at this literally repetitious situation.
Through the direct teachings of my parents and watching my grandparents who were raised in the Depression Era, I learned that working hard was a skill like everything else. That not everyone had it, but by having that skill it would take care of me. It certainly has. I have earned a lot of opportunities and had a lot of successes by working hard. Through teaching, I have also been able to pass it on to another generation of designers. That feels pretty damn good. Plus, I also just like working. It makes me feel like I’m contributing to society and luckily I chose a field that I love, so I don’t mind working on design every single day. Then sometimes you just have to work too. It’s called bills. It’s called being an adult. We’re a big club and we meet every Tuesday…hehe
However, it has taken me years of working 15-18 hour days on all my various projects, to realize that sometimes you just have to turn it all off. Don’t worry, I’m not fighting the battle on technology over-use today. But at some points in your life, you have to decide to power down and let things rest. There are 100 analogies for this from letting a souffle rest before serving it or putting a garden to “bed” over the winter so it can replenish its nutrients for the next year. Same goes for us.
It was only today that I looked up, saw a calendar and realized that Christmas is NEXT WEEK. I retraced my days on the calendar, tried to figure out where I had lost a day here and there and still came to the conclusion the Christmas is next week. So it was then that I realized that it was time to step back and turn it all off. Finish what I needed to do professionally, and then when it was all done, to put down my hard-working badge of honor. Harder than you might think. But you can do it. Regardless of which holiday you celebrate during this time, make the conscious decision to go be with some people you love, try out that new recipe you’ve been considering for weeks, and just switch into a different (and well-deserved) gear.
By taking my own advice, this will be my last blog post until January 5. I hope each of you have a really wonderful holiday season and you decide to turn it all off for a while and tend to the other aspects of yourself, other than your hard-working self. You’ll be happy you did.