My main goal for this year was to work less and to go out more. To travel more. To make time for friends. To date [which definitely did not happen] And above all, to stop being so damn busy. To a lot of my peers this isn't inspirational. Why? Because we’re living in the age of The Hustle.
We’re living in the age of working weekends. Working from the crack of dawn and logging on late at night. 9-5 is ancient history. It’s no longer about the 'It girls' or the socialites who got famous for no real reason. It’s no longer about yachts and parties in St Tropez. It’s about the self-made millennials. It’s about hard work. It’s about graft. It’s about proving you're working harder than everyone else to get to where you want to be. It’s about showing everyone that you deserve to be successful. And that success has nothing to do with luck.
We wear tiredness like a badge of honour. We take pride in late nights, early mornings, and working on our days off. In our excessive coffee consumption. I think some even get off on skipping meals. It’s a competition to see who is the busiest, who’s the most tired, and for the fitness fanatics, who is the most sore? If you're busy that means you're working hard. If you’re working hard that makes you worthy of your success.
We talk about ‘balance’ ‘self-love’ and ‘self-care’ and yet we romanticise exhaustion, anxiety and sleepless nights. And whilst I consciously avoid glamourising these things I can’t help but feel like I’m fraud. Because I too am guilty.
I first realised this when I felt guilty about taking a day off. To clarify, when I say ‘day off’ what I actually mean is Sunday. Having spent the last few years religiously working weekends I’ve forgotten what it’s like to spend a day doing what regular folk call ‘having fun’.
I feel guilty doing mindless tasks. Manicures are a huge no no because I can’t be productive whilst my hands are bound. Documentaries are OK; as long as I’m also hanging up my laundry. Skype calls to my mum in Iran are fine; but only if it coincides with me getting ready for work. And I can’t remember the last piece of fiction I read because I base my book choices around self-improvement and business. God forbid I actually let my mind wonder.
And I’m not alone. There’s plenty of others just like me working themselves into the ground to build a life they think is worthy of being deemed ‘successful,’ but never stopping along the way to actually live. We waste years of our life being tired, busy and unsatisfied because we haven't yet ‘made it’ and we refuse to be happy until we get there.
The truth is, if we continue like this, we will still never be happy. We will never, ever, be satisfied. And I know this because every time I’ve achieved a goal I haven’t felt happy, satisfied or successful. I’ve only ever felt a sinking feeling in my stomach because ‘What’s next?’
Once you accomplish what you set out to do there’s an anti-climax. You’re suddenly filled with dread because now you need something new. You don’t stop to appreciate the success because now you want more. And this is precisely what makes the #grind pointless.
There's no point in working hard if you’ve never got enough time or energy to enjoy the pay off. There’s no point in preaching a healthy lifestyle if you feel like sh*t. And there’s no point in hustling if you’re not enjoying the journey.
We’ve gotten in so deep that we’ve grown to accept tiredness as the status quo. We’re always busy, we’re always stressed, and the slightest nuisance apparently causes us much ‘anxiety’.
But being busy is not trendy. Dark bags is not chic. Coffee is not food. And hunger is not heroic. There’s a huge difference between dedication and self-harm and at some point we have to question: What the hell are we actually doing? Is any of this actually worth it? What’s the point of hustling if it distracts us from living? And what’s the point of working so damn hard if our mindsets prevent us from ever experiencing happiness?
I’m tired of being tired.