12 votes

For those who (privately) aspire to become more reclusive

2 comments

  1. [2]
    patience_limited
    Link
    From the article: While it's an essay light on factual content, I found it particularly resonant as it arrives when I'm nearing a return to work after a year of both voluntary and involuntary...

    From the article:

    The quiet understand how much can be drawn out of a single experience, if one takes the time to turn it over in one’s mind. A trip taken ten years ago isn’t really over. So much of it remains unattended in memory: the light on the first morning by the harbour, the little museum with the geraniums in the courtyard, the tomato salad by the forest… Nothing ever disappears, it’s just waiting for the outer world to still before yielding its riches. We would need to experience so much less if we knew how to draw appropriate value from what we had already done and seen. Our impulse for constant movement may at heart be a confession of an inability to process. We feel the need for so many new experiences because we have been so poor at absorbing the ones we have had.

    While it's an essay light on factual content, I found it particularly resonant as it arrives when I'm nearing a return to work after a year of both voluntary and involuntary withdrawal from the world in recovery from burnout.

    I'm curious, given the way that COVID-19 has imposed isolation on many of us, what benefits (if any) you've derived from imposed quiescence?

    6 votes
    1. kfwyre
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      It has really highlighted how much of a drain my job is for me. I'm an introvert in an extrovert's career, which is already a misalignment, and then on top of that my job is designed to extract...

      It has really highlighted how much of a drain my job is for me. I'm an introvert in an extrovert's career, which is already a misalignment, and then on top of that my job is designed to extract maximal resources from me, all while I willingly pour too much of myself into it. It makes it such that my time and energy for enjoying homelife are sapped. Home time is spent recovering rather than genuinely resting, relaxing, and enjoying pleasures.

      This lockdown and working from home (which has cut back my responsibilities significantly) have shown me that I don't have to finish each and every day of work fully drained. It's shown me that when I don't give away all my efforts to work, I have so much more to put towards other things. And even if I'm not expending energy for things of choice, the mere fact that I still have some left in me means I'm enjoying even my idle and mindless time far more. Not needing a recovery period is liberating.

      My husband and I talked today about how much more we're cooking for ourselves and how, even after all this time, we surprisingly don't miss eating out (we haven't had food from a restaurant in over two months!). The truth is that sometimes we'd eat out because, after long days at work, we couldn't be bothered to even make the simplest of foods. Going to a restaurant wasn't just a way to get food but it was also a way to get away from responsibility and demands. It was more a process of recovery than recreation, so with the need for recovery gone, our desires to sit down at the local greasy spoon or stop by a drive-thru have all but left us. Now we eat lunch, that we made, together on our back porch while our dog naps in the warm sun. It's beautiful. It's commonplace and domestic and uneventful but it feels so, so good.

      We don't get those moments normally. Work takes them from us; tries to keep them from happening.

      I've been on a mission for years to try to make my job sustainable. I've gotten close, but I'm not there yet especially because I'm susceptible to overextending myself in an attempt to help others. This lockdown has shown me what life could be like if I could finally achieve a work-life balance that befits my needs. I'll always need some recovery, as will anyone who works with kids, but reserving my energy is the key to allowing my time to be genuinely mine, rather than merely a slow recharging cycle for my daily drained batteries.

      10 votes