The Work Voice

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Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – Good book!

It’s that time of year again – in fact, the last time that I’ll have it forever. Summer break means the sweet release from the constant hounding of school, long days spent in the sun or reading a good book (or both!). Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy learning and appreciate all of the opportunities that I’ve had throughout the years as a result of my education. There comes a point, though, when the stresses of projects and papers just start to get old. This past semester was my most difficult one yet, and by the end I was more than ready to be done. I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life in school and, while I don’t think I’ll ever feel completely ready to jump from my nest into the so-called real world, I’m at a point where the idea is becoming pretty appealing.

I’m getting off topic; back to summer break. Next year I will graduate, so my summer then will be spent preparing to do whatever it is that I decide to do. Most likely that will not leave a lot of time for doing nothing. This summer is a different story – I have a job, but technically no other real responsibilities besides that. My goals include things like reading at least one book per week, learning ukulele, and working on my novel. While these goals certainly take some effort, they are pretty enjoyable and center more around personal growth rather than “making it” in the real world.

I’ve noticed something interesting now that school is over, however. I spent yesterday reading outside for a couple hours and then came home, napped, and watched YouTube videos. It’s only the second real day of summer break, so I feel like I deserved a whole day of laziness, but for some reason I had difficulty relaxing. For much of the day I had a voice in the back of my head telling me that I should be working on something, that I didn’t have time to be doing nothing. It wasn’t an overwhelming voice, but it was still strong enough that it made me feel guilty for simply enjoying myself. I’m not sure what’s causing this voice; it may be lingering from this past semester, or perhaps it is the curse of adulthood. I truly hope it goes away. I do have some work-related goals for the summer, such as developing this blog, but having peace of mind and relishing the current moment are things that are very important to me.

I think that a lot of people have a similar subconscious voice as well, telling them to go go go, that they are not successful unless they are working to better themselves or to achieve some higher purpose. I’m sure that this works for some people, but it also just stresses a lot people out. Living in the hope that the future will provide gratification is not healthy to me because, if the future doesn’t live up to our expectations, we’ll never be happy. It’s not always easy to let go of everything and give our minds respite, but it’s an important skill to develop. I know that I’m only 20 (ahem, almost 21, ahem) and don’t know squat about the world, but from what I have learned, life shouldn’t mean worrying every day about what society thinks I should be doing.

Also, I got sunburnt yesterday. Wear your sunscreen kids!

 

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