I’m not really a quote guy…
Scroll through your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any such feed and you will see quote after quote posted. Some funny, some sad, some thought-provoking, some just stupid.
I don’t post a lot of quotey memey things, but I do read a metric shit-ton of them.
My friend Valerie Garcia recently posted this one on her Facebook profile, and it caught my attention:
It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.
If you don’t know Brené Brown, you should. She keynoted one of Zillow’s events and was really (really) good. Anyway, like I said, this quote pulled me in and got me thinking…
This is a “hustle” and “grind” and “work-your-ass-off-fourteen-hours-a-day” culture we’re living in. Seems many believe that in order to be “successful” you have to be filled with the dedication and drive to “hustle” and “grind” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Vacations and holidays? Pfft, those are for the worthless and weak!
Did you know that retirement and retirees have haters?
It’s true! Here’s a few of the quotes I’ve grabbed from online discussions since I retired a few months ago:
“I’ll never retire, I need to do something productive with my life.”
“Retirement? Who wants or needs that. I’m out there hustling, seven days a week.”
“I’ll be selling real estate from the grave. Retirement is for sissies that can’t take life.”
Can’t. Take. Life. Really?
Whatever, haters gonna hate, right? But they do help codify something — we seem obsessed, to a fault at times, with “winning” and that’s been translated into if you don’t “hustle” constantly, somehow you’re a lesser human than all those hard-working, dedicated, sleepless souls out there.
Have a nine-to-five job?
You’re a loser.
You should be doing something productive with your life.
It can wait. After all, you can’t hustle and grind in your sleep. Sleeping is for pussies (that’s actual advice received from a casual friend awhile back when I was in the middle of a particularly nasty bout of insomnia).
Listen, there is nothing wrong with hustling, grinding, and working your ass off. If that’s your thing, knock yourself out. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with working a “nine-to-five,” relaxing, taking a day off, or <<gasp>> retiring.
Naps after all, are very under-rated.
Personally, I find myself quite busy in retirement. Nope, I’m not grinding away, trying to create a new business (or grow an existing one). That doesn’t make me a second-class citizen. It doesn’t mean that I’m no longer a productive member of society.
It just means my goals, plans, and desires are different.
Differences make us human. Can you imagine how much life and the world would suck if we all had the same goals, the same desires, the same needs out of life?
Sounds positively awful.
As the wise William Cowper said in his 1785 poem, “The Task“: “Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour.”
Yay for humans looking, acting, and behaving differently. Yay for spicy variety.
Where the nonsense comes into play is with the mistaken belief that hustling and grinding away is the only way to success, the only measure of worth.
I’m not advocating wasting away on the couch, doing nothing but eating bonbon’s and binge-watching Netflix. (Though a good bonbon is one of the wonders of the world, and I still dig Orange is the New Black.)
What I do advocate is taking a step back, assessing your priorities, and accepting the fact that life can be about more than grinding, hustling, and suffering sleeplessly through it. Creating a legacy does no one any good if you hustle your way to stress-filled days, high blood pressure, a heart attack, or worse.
I’ve traveled the road to a heart attack, trust me, it blows.
If you chose to hustle and grind your way through life, that’s perfectly fine. Who am I, or anyone else, to tell you how to live?
Conversely, if I chose a different path, one that leads to–for me–less stress and more fulfillment, who are you, or anyone else, to tell me that’s not the way to do it?
All I ask is that we all stop and chill for a second, and just acknowledge that different things drive and motivate us. That differences are good, something to be embraced, something to appreciate. It’s OK, quite possibly heathy even, to take some “me time.” Doing so certainly doesn’t throw you into the Losers In Life bucket. Far from it.
You do you, I’ll do me; if our paths diverge in the wood, so be it.
I’m not really a quote guy…
So what better way to end this piece with a couple of quotes (and a video of the late, great Warren Zevon)?
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost
… and …
If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move.
As far as you can, as much as you can.
Across the ocean, or simply across the river.
The extent to which you can walk in somebody else’s shoes–or at least eat their food–it’s a plus for everybody.
Open your mind. Get up off the couch. Move.
~ Anthony Bourdain