Fun outside of work
I’ve worked so furiously these last 5 years, setting up Wandering Cooks, I’ve forgotten how to have fun outside of work.
More than that, I’ve made moral judgements about fun. Shouldn’t we all just forget about fun for fun’s sake? I mean, should fun even exist outside this work cascade of my creation? If work engulfs life – ingests it – wouldn’t everything get a little bit easier? Work would BECOME THE FUN.
Now that there’s some freaky kinda logic.
But a necessary freaky when you’re starting up a business; an optimistic (and opportunistic) coping mechanism. Why? Because for the last 5 years, the amount of work there was to do was more than any balanced life could bare. And my life, my body, my family, my staff, were in so deep that the only way out was to keep going…. endlessly stroking out to our business’ horizon, still managing to find a bit of ‘fun’ bobbing around with us along the way.
Having defined myself so completely through usefulness and productivity, if I wasn’t working, what was I? Without work, I was literally invisible to myself. The planning of a holiday was accompanied by feelings of despair and anxiety. And the actual period of time not working resulted in the equivalent of a not life experience more than relaxation. Not life took various forms: drinking and eating too much, zoning out in front of a screen and finding the biggest jigsaw puzzle I could to stabilise what was left of my brain.
Now the thing is, that was then. Now, works got a little easier. I actually have enough cashflow to pay the right number of people for us to almost completely stop working crazy overtime. I feel glee, terror and a tugging guilt about that in repeating cycles. Gleeful for my staff and their freedom to find fun outside of here. Terrified for my future sanity. Guilty because I’m suspicious that I’m wrong: rather than under control, all those undone hours of work are piling up in a dark place and will topple and kill the whole business when they are discovered.
So two things need to happen.
One, I need to have a work day that’s only 8 hours long and to still be able to label it ‘productive’.
Two, I need to get a life outside of work so I don’t go completely dead inside.
Last week, I started yoga again, a Mysore practice. I’ve started several other yoga courses in the past 5 years, but aborted the ‘continuing’ part. In my twenties, I built a life around Mysore classes, so maybe that’s why this time, starting up feels different. It might just be the nostalgia I need to find fun again, in my forties. It ignites the muscle memory of days when work was shaped by life, not the other way round. Sure, this returning is ‘fun’ shrouded in a fair bit of discipline and pain, but I think that’s a kind of fun I can accept right now. Fun outside of work, but still work-fun.