I am going to begin this piece with a conversation I have had with a great many people, time and time again. Hey probably won’t read this entry either, so it’s cool. The only thing they read are ‘inspirational’ books by rich, privileged white folk. You know the type. No shade.
Me: Hey hun!
Friend: What’s good Lydz, how you been?
Me: Nothing much you know, just chilling. Been time though, we were meant to touch base time ago
Friend: I know Lydz, allow me, it’s always love init
Me: we should just let the friendship burn
Friend: Loool stop being silly. Just been mad busy. I need some time for myself too
Me: Not everyday busy, sometimes chill
Friend: I will soon… in like 5 years
Me: There’s no weakness in taking time out you know your wellbeing is important
Friend: There is weakness
Me: You’re gonna burn yourself out
Friend: Never. I’ll sleep when I’m dead
Me: That’ll be soon if you’re not careful
Friend: Well, at least I’ll be rich and happy
Me: blue ticks
This white patriarchal capitalist society in which we reside leads us to believe that the only way that success can be measured is by the amount of money and power we have. In order to be successful, we deem it necessary to work longer hours, sleep with our mobile phones and tablets on our bedside tables – always prepared to clock in when we hear that loud vibration against the wood – whether it is an important email or our alarms telling us it’s time to wake up and do it all over again.
I decided to reject this way of living almost two years ago. After graduating, I took the graduate job route at a career development firm in the city. I woke up at the crack of dawn, made my way into the city, talked my ass of all day to clients in the middle east, assisting them in their use of social media to help their career development. I was basically teaching them Twitter. Yes, I received a nice amount of money at the end of the month – which was pissed away on my monthly travel, bills and after work drinks.
Sorry, but I wasn’t here for it. I soon started to feel sad and depressed all the time. I had fallen into a job that was nothing like the one I applied for. I spent most of my time at a job I hated. I worked longer than my contracted hours without any reward, leaving no time to work on projects I really cared about. I was miserable. It just wasn’t worth it. Soon after I passed my probation, I handed in my resignation. I had a lot of people tell me I should stick it out for at least a year, as it would bode well for my employability. I had people say, “So what man, it’s a job!” like I wasn’t aware of that. I didn’t care about any of that though. I don’t care about any of that. What I care about is my wellbeing and that is something that will always come first.
Arianna Huffington says, “The architecture of how we live our lives is badly in need of renovation and repair. What we really value is out of sync with how we live our lives. And the need is urgent for some new blueprints to reconcile the two.” She writes this in her book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder. According to Huffington, when you thrive, that is a true metric of success. You take care of your health, get enough sleep and realise that there is more to life than work. I could not agree more.
Success can be measured in so many different ways; however, when it comes down to it, one must wonder if what they’re achieving or what they have achieved truly makes them feel good. Do you feel that in some way you are contributing to making the world a better place, or bringing joy not to just your life, but others, too?
Are you waking up feeling refreshed, due to 8 hours sleep? Are you taking the time out to look after your wellbeing by working out? Playing Basketball? Doing Yoga? Going for a swim? Or are you burning the candle at both ends, forgetting that the body that we are born with is our temple for life and so must be looked after?
Are you taking time to turn off digital connections and focus on real life ones? I must admit; this is something that I really need to work on. As a child of the digital age, I am definitely guilty of eating dinner with my mobile phone right next to plate. I am not proud of it and this is something I am trying to change.
Not only because it takes away from the real time you spend with loved ones, but also because it has a way of silencing your inner voice. When you truly switch off from outside factors, you can listen to your inner self and truly be in touch with your instinct and what your gut tells you. Let’s be fair, if we listened to our guts more often, I really believe so many of us would be a lot happier.
My decision to seek success from means other than money has definitely changed my life and the person I am becoming. I now work with children and although it is challenging and really hard at time, for me, there is nothing better than seeing that moment when the penny drops and one of my students has begun to understand a maths problem or a hidden meaning in a poem. I now have the time to write a lot more and have also started a podcast with a friend, discussing issues that are affecting my community and important to me. I definitely have a passion for these things; however, I was only able to key into them once I redefined what success means for me. We are all put on this earth to achieve something. The universe has a plan for us all. It’s okay to not know exactly what the plan is yet. It may not even be time to figure out what the plan is. Still, what good is it if you burn yourself out before putting the plan into action? There’s no first place ribbon for working the most hours or having the most zeros in your bank account. We all have a limited amount of time on this earth so maybe, just maybe, if we stopped the glorification of busy, we’d be able to make it count.