I love what I do. I could be at it 24/7. As a result, I probably spend more time at it than I should. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that my wife is always saying “come home early”, which helps quite a bit in the pursuit of avoiding continual work.
Talking to many technical artists in the local church, I notice that I am not alone in my love for what I do. Most of us love a challenge. Many of us will not stop until something is complete. We are passionate about using the technical arts to advance the Kingdom of God through the local church. However, many times this is to the detriment of our health and our non-work life.
After a few days of not thinking about work, I have realized how refreshed I feel and how I am starting to come back to life. My last blog entry was about being empty. I have noticed my tank refilling.
This idea of loving what I do so much that I don’t take very good breaks reminded me of a couple of Winston Churchill quotes (shocking!) from a small book he wrote in 1922 called “Painting as a Pastime”.
“It may well be that those whose work is their pleasure are those who most need the means of banishing it at intervals from their mind.”
“A man can wear out a particular part of his mind by continually using and tiring it, just in the same way he can wear out the elbows of his coat.”
This break from work, for whatever reason, has been good for me to remember the importance of these two quotes in my own life. Here are a couple of things that I have done over the past couple of weeks to combat the weariness that comes from going full steam ahead at a job I love:
Develop other interests. This has been key for me. Running. Watercolor painting. Cemetery photography (weird, I know). My 5th-grade son’s basketball games. Trips into the city. When I am at home, these have all helped get my mind off of work. And when I am at work, they give me a reason to leave work behind and engage my brain in new ways. They also have nothing to do with what I do every day, so I am not wearing myself down even further by having interests that are just like my work. Instead, they renew me, and as a result, I am ready for another day of the things I love to do.
Create space. This requires discipline, which I am pretty bad at. There is always something pressing that requires immediate attention and seems more important than space. Plan that vacation, otherwise it won’t happen. Create a routine to get you out running on a regular basis. Look for cemeteries you haven’t been to and figure out ways to get there with your camera (yes, I know… weird. Check out the new photoblog I created). Discipline yourself to make space.
This past week, I was given time off. Our whole staff takes the week between Christmas and New Year’s off, so it was space created for me. I have really enjoyed it, and wonder why I don’t use all my vacation days and do this more often.
These are 2 things I am committed to this next year. I have other interests already, but I am going to create the space for them to happen.
What are some interests that you could develop this coming year that would rejuvenate you?
Take advantage of the impulse to create New Year’s resolutions. Look at your weeks, months, and the year ahead and create some space for you to recover from the work you love.