Time for a Rest

I have goals, We all do, I’m sure, but mine are pretty lofty: become a better writer, better fitness, get the splits, run 5k in under 20min, becomes a chess master, and there’s even more than that. Every day I plug away at these goals, trying to inch closer and closer to perfection, to make these dreams a reality.

I don’t know about you, but I dream of dragons.

On the whole, this is a good thing. It’s certainly better than the alternative, where you do nothing and just let the days and weeks and months soar by. The next thing you know you look at the calendar and it’s next year. You’re a year older, a year greyer, but you haven’t moved anywhere. You’re in the same spot, none the better. That thought chills me to the bone, and I resist it as much as I can. Every day is an opportunity, and I want to use it to the best of my abilities.

That’s all well and good, but there are times when I over do it. You can’t go go go all the time without taking the time to stop and smell the roses. That’s what I’m doing right now. I’m taking a break.

It seems slightly weird: I’m taking a break from being a better person. Yes, it’s funny, but that’s the truth. It applies to everything. You can’t workout 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can certainly try, but you will get far better results by having rest days and periodization built into your training. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.

Basically, I need a rest day, or a rest month more likely. For the last two years I’ve been tireless in my pursuit of perfection. I study, I train, I do everything. Not a day passes where I don’t do something productive, something that drives me forward. That’s great, but it can’t be the only thing I do. Everyone needs a vacation. Basically, that’s what I’m doing right now, taking a mini-vacation.

I wish I could say I was travelling somewhere, going somewhere exotic to get away from it all, but I’m not. I’m not much of a traveller, honestly, and even if I were this is a poor time to do it. I may be in the same place, but I’m still on vacation, taking a vacation from my responsibilities. For the next week or two, I can do anything I want. This also means I can do nothing with no regrets.

That’s the key point, no regrets. I’ve had constant regrets lately. I’ll watch a show or play some games, just for a little bit … and that little bit morphs into several hours and I have to rush to get everything done, often doing shoddy work in the process. Take writing. The last few weeks have been some of my worst writing, at least from a production standpoint. I’m either rushing through, just getting it done without thought to quality, or I’m waiting until right before I go to bed … which makes me rush through it with little thought on quality.

On the one hand, I’m still writing, which is a good thing, but I’m not doing it anywhere close to optimally. At best, I’m standing still. I’m spinning my wheels. I’m not going anywhere, and that’s what life feels like right now. None of my dreams are going anywhere. In some cases, it even feels like I’m going backwards. That’s not a place you want your dreams to be.

It’s like my dragons are dying.

So I’m taking a break from my dreams, as it were. I don’t need to constantly push forwards. Like the fitness analogy, sometimes rest is the best thing you can do. That’s what I feel right now. Rather than push through even more, I’m going to relax, do nothing and just enjoy the moment. If I still feel like doing anything, then I’ll do it, but if I just want to sit back, have a cup of tea and watch some flowers grow, that’s fine too.

In practice, this means several things. First regards my fitness goals, namely of getting stronger and reaching the splits. I’m near fanatical about my fitness, but I also need to realize I haven’t had a major improvement in either area in months. I’m not stronger, nor am I more flexible. I am running better, but that’s it. Even if I weren’t planning a break in general, I think I need a break here.

For the next two weeks, I’m in maintainence mode. I get two workouts a week, max, and they need to be at a reduced intensity. Even better, maybe I can just take the two weeks off. No worries, no regrets. Let myself relax and recharge so I can come back stronger than ever.

The same is true for my splits training. I haven’t missed a session all year, and I haven’t dropped an inch closer to the ground. My current program clearly isn’t working. I’m taking two weeks off. No stretching, or at least, no deep stretching. I can still warm up and do light stretches when I feel stiff, but no hardcore dedicated stretching sessions. Not for two weeks at least.

I’ll get there someday. Just not in the next two weeks.

I’m already seeing some interesting results. I’ve gone three days without doing anything physical, skipping my normal workouts, runs and stretches, and I’m amazed at how much extra time I have. That’s roughly three hours, all in the morning. I barely know what to do with myself. I’ve always been committed to my fitness, so I never saw it as a drag of a time sink, but I’ve just now learning just how time-intensive it is.

Second, I feel … interesting. Yes, I suppose that’s the right word, interesting. I haven’t suddenly lost strength or endurance, nor have I become all stiff and rigid. I have more energy, but not an excessive amount more. I feel like I should be doing something that I’m not currently doing, and that’s a strange sensation. Strange, but not bad. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes.

That’s really the story. I’m cutting out everything, so my chess, my fitness, my poi, everything. If I make myself do it, it’s now gone. I’m going two weeks without. They say absence makes the heart grow founder. If I deeply miss these activities, if I can’t wait to get them back, then I know it’s important to me. If the two weeks go by and I don’t care, if I enjoy my newfound free time, then I can say goodbye,

The one exception is writing. I will not stop writing. I’ve written every day for 400+ days; I’m not stopping now. I don’t want to stop. I want to write. I will, however, allow myself to write much less, both in terms of quality and quantity. I don’t want to slave for an hour or more to get something out. No, this is my vacation. Get it done in 30min and then move on. That’s the goal.

I’m curious to see how this vacation works. I haven’t done something like this in years. I just keep going. I might take a day off here or there, but never a full week, and definitely not two weeks. How will this change me? Will I feel recharged or just even more down, with even less direction? I guess I’ll find out.

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