Give it Rest. Live the Slow Life.

There is a huge amount of pressure on people to do things, be productive, and get work done. I challenge you to try to remove yourself from that mindset for a minute and figure out why. Why is it so important to always be working hard? Is it important to you personally or to everyone else?

I asked myself this and I decided that not only was being busy unimportant, it was extremely undesirable. This was a very easy conclusion for me to come to, because I believe that the best days are the slow ones, with friends and food and maybe some kind of little adventure. The perfect day for me would be waking up early in a tropical village in Hawaii, and not being tired, eating fresh fruit and food and tea and painting on the beach, hiking with friends in a forest in Hawaii, setting up a picnic lunch by a waterfall, swimming, laying in the sun and reading, then heading home for dinner and a movie (and more tea) with friends, dancing to loud music, and maybe some late-night stargazing. Slow and sweet. I want to spend zero minutes every day in an office, zero minutes commuting, zero minutes studying for a test and zero minutes waiting for my lunch break.

Even though I completely believe in this kind of lifestyle, it took a while for me to give up trying to take on commitments in school. At times I felt like I had too much free time (which I enjoyed, but I felt like people were judging me) and so each year in college I tried a bunch of new clubs and activities.

Freshman year I was the coxswain for my schools crew team for a couple of months. I loved steering the boat into the sunrise, but I didn’t like waking up before the sun or rowing in the rain. I got my SCUBA license that year, but haven’t gone diving since, but mostly because it was too expensive. I tried a green club, an outdoor recreation (camping/surfing, etc) club, and a film club. I didn’t stay in any. I got a job over the summer and promised myself I would never work in an office again.

Sophomore year I tried a karate club, capture the flag club,  and I took a Russian independent study class. No better luck. I stuck with the Russian program for a semester and then dropped it.

Junior year I tried swing dancing for a day, tried a different karate club, and spent the summer at an internship in Germany. As soon as I arrived in Germany though, I realized that I had taken the internship for the wrong reasons (because of pressure from society) and I wished I had followed my heart and gone to Australia.

Finally senior year came along and I took on three final commitments. I went to a few months of meetings for a business fraternity, signed up for my schools business plan competition, and took belly dancing classes, which I actually enjoyed. I dropped the fraternity and wanted to drop the business plan competition. Truly the only reason I stayed in it, despite the fact that the business plan I was writing was based on a hypothetical company that I absolutely had no interest in starting, was the pressure from others.

But that is finally over, and I will not take on any more time-consuming commitments just because other people think I should. The most important lesson I have learned in college is to do what I want to do, what makes me happy, and if other people see me as lazy or unmotivated, then just live with it or talk to them about the things I really care about, like travel, my business ideas, my family, friends, and my blog. These things are what I want to spend all my time and effort on, because my excitement for them never runs out, and I am always learning new things and coming up with new ideas. I wouldn’t give up the life I have planned for myself for a hundred million dollars of year in an office job.

So please, don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never make it out alive.

For more inspiration, read The Happiness Project, or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean my Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun.

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