I was told—I won’t use the collective “we” here because I don’t know who all this applies to—almost all my life to put 110% into everything I do. Which was fine for the first few years when “everything” wasn’t really anything, but that's become a different story.
So as I sit at my desk drudging through the work I’m obligated to do, I ponder on the things I’m not obligated to do but drudge through anyway, and a thought occurs to me: What if I just stop trying?
To cease trying here not being synonymous with giving up, but rather, conserving energy. Because who can put 110% into everything they do, really? Who has the time? I mean, I guess some miraculous people do, but I'm not one of them. What a plague the idea of “having it all” has set upon our society. The world’s a fucking big place and a lot of shit goes on in life, you’re never going to have it all. And why would you want to? Can you imagine how boring existence would become? Not to mention, resigning yourself to someone else’s idea of happiness and success creates a greater risk of never truly finding your own. Because it could be that you have it all right now, right this very second, but aren’t aware of it because you’re supposed to think something is missing.
And similarly, the idea of "not trying" does not simply mean refraining from work or goals that do not interest you, but laying to rest the idea of having absolute emotional consistency. I’m not saying indulge in manic-depressive behavior, but if you’re feeling sad, let yourself feel sad. If you don’t feel like being funny today, don’t. If you’re angry, go punch a pillow. Let yourself feel things. My perception has often been that people see jarring emotions as black holes where productivity and well-being go to die. I couldn’t disagree more. Obviously certain restrictions apply—for example, if you’ve been holed up in your apartment crying for the past three days, that’s probably not the best thing in the world—but speaking as an incredibly lazy person whose greatest interest is taking the path of least resistance, I find that going through the Forest of Feelings rather than circumnavigating it, gets me where I want to be much quicker and, sometimes surprisingly, with less effort. Can you imagine how efficient we’d all be if we didn’t dedicate focus to keeping up with appearances? And perhaps, overall, happier and healthier?
Like, if I could kick off my shoes and pants, and take a nap freely under my desk right now, that would be incredible. But no: I have to be “professional.”