I’ve always been something of a workaholic and prided myself in my hard work and diligent and disciplined attitude to completing all work-related tasks promptly. In fact I cannot relax with work hanging over me. I guess this is the exact opposite to procrastination. I push myself to do more onerous jobs by promising rewards when they are completed. As a strategy it has served me well and enabled me to get assignments in before deadlines, complete student reports on time, meet my professional obligations, measure up to my own expectations and take pride in all that I have achieved in a single day or week or whatever. Now I find I am asking myself, “Is it a disease to have to always be productive?”
Recently with time on our hands to travel it has really become obvious to me that I am not so comfortable with just kicking back and relaxing.
For almost 3 months we have been travelling around South East Asia and there is nothing to complain about there. It has been a wonderfully rewarding and enlightening experience, with new discoveries and old haunts providing endless hours of enjoyment and stimulation. Not a day goes by when I don’t feel blessed to be able to do this and feel grateful that I am learning so much. So what’s the problem?
Usually 3 to 4 hours in the sun in the morning is about all we can take in this summer season, before we must look for some respite from the humidity and heat in an air-conditioned zone. This is the best time to catch up on emails, blog, check out and in on Facebook and read. However I have now realized that after a relatively short space of time engaged in these recreational activities, I start to feel that I am not making the most of our precious travel opportunity, especially if we are in a hotel room. I start feeling guilty about not being out there exploring and appreciating even if only a short time ago I was almost expiring from the heat.
Today was a classic example. We only lasted an hour wandering the streets and visiting a temple before we were both red in the face and soaked in sweat, yet I felt guilty about suggesting that we should stop somewhere cool for a coffee after such a short time! Now most people seem perfectly able to put their feet up and relax but I seem to have this task master approach to life and everything I do, especially in daylight hours. Funnily enough once the sun has set then doing exactly as I please comes easily and I resent any prescribed activities encroaching on this time. I now also recall how annoyed I often became when school commitments were scheduled to take place at night.
It is as if I have to be productive or I have to persecute myself, in the daylight hours and the flip side is that I perceive nighttime as only for spontaneous or recreational activities. Is this what years of a regimented routine at work does or have I brought it on myself with my zealous approach to everything I undertake? It makes me realize all those times when Ian tells me to give myself a break, he is right and he obviously knows me better than I know myself. Now seems the ideal opportunity to do my best to actually give myself a break.