This has been a constant feeling for me since I decided to quit my job and change my life completely 3 months ago. I (or we, in general) are programmed to live our lives fast, intensively, non-stop, and the fuller, the better. But what does this mean?
I have been job-free for 3 months now. The first month was all about holidays and moving countries (I moved from Madrid, Spain, to Nuremberg, Germany). The second month was about settling in, and starting a new routine here in Nuremberg, as I was to start an intensive German course that would become my main routine here, alongside with enjoying my life with my partner and doing stuff that I always wanted to do but I never had the time to. The third month has been basically studying, studying and studying. Settling in in a new country whose language is not familiar to you may seem like a daunting task, but learning the language always helps.
So the experience so far has been great and fulfilling, but there has always been a subjacent voice inside me that would scream: “yeah, this is all good, but you’ve got to work!”. And through these three months, this voice has kept on repeating itself. What do I make out of it? Why does my brain keep on repeating that I have to work above anything else? My brain should be shooting out ideas about the million other things I could/should be doing, but instead, it repeats this mantra over and over again.
My first instinct finds this insanely weird. During the last few months, my brain has done nothing but the opposite, constantly laying out the idea that I would be much better off once I had some time to myself and to think about what I wanted to do with my life. And now, this? Of course this is weird.
I feel super happy about having quit my old job and having jumped into this new adventure. I feel super relaxed, all my stress has disappeared, my life feels a better place to live in, I have nothing else to do but learning a language (something I love, by the way) and doing the things I never had time to do before, I have no more travelling to do (at least for now, or unless I want to, but not for work!), and I’ve got the opportunity to meditate about what my life is like, and what I want it to be.
But this other voice is relentless. What does it mean, then? Here’s what I can make of it:
- Part of it may be a residual feeling because I am self-financing this adventure, so I’m basically living off my savings. This is something that many people would raise their hands to their heads about, but I believe that savings are to be enjoyed, and not to be accumulated. Of course, it’s good to have a security blanket, but there’s no need to restrain oneself to do things that will make you happy if they make sense.
- Another meaning of this is a subterfuge from our brains because we really do not know how to be on our own, how to do things on our own, how to enjoy things on our own, and we don’t like having time to think about “stuff”. Life seems easier when there is no time to reflect upon things. Life is easier when time simply swifts by.
- Another part of it is related closely to the way I believe many of us have been brought up: how much we’re worth is in direct proportion to how much we work, or how much we produce. This is something the modern world does to us: our parents and our families want us to do the best we possibly can; society “rewards” the fittest ones, and “punishes” somehow the weakest links; we take on more and more activities to fill up gaps and spaces either because we don’t feel worthy enough, because society pushes us to do so, or because we simply want more (more of what?).
The real reason may lie behind a mixture of all three points above. Maybe I feel guilty because I’m spending my savings when I was raised up to save money in order to have “something” (like what, possessions? What about experiences?). Maybe my brain is bored because I’ve always had so much to do and now I have very little to do and I love it, but I don’t know what to make of it. But more importantly: how do I perceive myself? Am I as worthy as to how much I “produce”? I think not.
Life is not to be lived in 6th gear continuously. Life is to be savoured, every drop of it.
So, if any of you are feeling anything similar, just sit back and relax. Be who you like, think outside the box, do the things you’ve always wanted to do, and definitely change gears!