Sunday, March 29, 2020

Workaholism is sneaky.

Linda has always said that I only slow down and relax when I'm sick. That is, I only really let myself do nothing when I have a bug. That same feeling of luxurious relaxation has come over me during the current crisis. It's the fact that my somewhat Puritan aspect is tamped down. Doing nothing is what I should be doing!

The funny thing is, I've always thought of myself as lazy--but I now believe that is just a sneaky element of being a workaholic. The constant spur to do more.

For example, I realized at some point that I was actually putting a huge amount of time and thought and effort into my business. But that thought and effort wasn't visible on the outside. What eventually happened is that I talked to enough other businesses to realize that it was possible that most owners hadn't really put a lot of analysis into what they were doing; nor were they as persistently relentless in their pursuit of it.

I think where this really shows up is that when I took a different route and started writing, leaving the store in Sabrina's capable hands, that the same thought and effort exploded into the equivalent of about 35 books. I mean, the whole time I was writing them, I still thought I was lazy.

In hindsight I can see how diligent I was. I mean, it's obvious now.

I compare it to what I saw my mother do. She was a great gardener, but it didn't come to her magically. She put huge time and effort into the process--and about 90% of it the public didn't see. I lived at home while this was happening, saw that she was absorbed by gardening from 6:00 in the morning to 9:00 at night, with a few breaks here and there. Her friends and customers only saw the magnificent garden and her encyclopedic knowledge of plants. She was inspiring, but I don't think most customers who talked to her understood the amount of work she put into her inspiration.

I'm not sure this is the best way to live. No one goes to their deathbed thinking, "Gosh, I wish I'd worked harder." Certainly, having a heart attack at the age of 66 is not an ideal result--though if stress was a contributing factor, I'd attribute that more to the stress of keeping a business afloat than the workaholism.

On the other hand I'm proud of what I've accomplished. 

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