I’ve been talking about this on social media recently, and I’ve been making it sound a little bit like a joke, but it’s not a joke.
I’m on two years of rest.
Let me explain.
I just realized that for the past 15+ years I have been stressed out of my mind.
I have been ruled by the constant subconscious pressures to get somewhere and the constant subconscious guilt that I wasn’t getting anywhere . Every moment I should be doing something to benefit my career(s), my personal life, my health, and of course, before the Fuck it Diet: to be beautiful and thin and to live forever.
I was an actress for years doing things I didn’t want to do, feeling like I should be doing things I didn’t want to do, guilty out of my mind that I didn’t want to do what I needed to do, and that I wasn’t as successful as I should be, and on and on. I was on stupid dating apps, pretty much hating every moment. I was living in New York and forcing myself to do improv at bar basements late at night an hour from my apartment. I was always so far from my house and so cold and so tired and so anxious that I wasn’t doing enough or didn’t know all of the things that I was supposed to be doing.
Two years ago, I had a notebook where I wrote all the things that I was trying to put together: The Fuck It Diet + Solo Comedy Shows + Comedy Songs + Writing a Web series + Regular Acting/Broadway + LATE NIGHT IMPROV + MISCELLANEOUS WRITING + PERFORMING + BABYSITTING + COACHING + MAKING MONEY + NOT GOING CRAZY + LOTS OF OTHER BULLSHIT
And I would go cross-eyed trying to figure out how it was all going to fit together.
I would feel guilty every day when I’d stay home to write (what I craved) and not out going to auditions for brooooadddwaayyyyy because I live in New York and I majored in this and I am a good singer and I shoulllld because I am only going to be this young and miserable once and if I poop on my dreams and they never come true I’ll only have myself to blame when I realize I’m a failure and it’s all my fault.
I subconsciously didn’t think I was doing enough or doing life right.
I’ve been constantly exhausted, and constantly just pushing through.
I’ve been trying to juggle every kind of career and squash them all together into some big magical perfect career thing. In a way I’m glad I really tried to reach all my stressful goals, because it made me realize that I want to stop. Forever. Or in the very least, just for two years.
I don’t think my life is harder than yours. It’s not. It’s actually probably easier. Which is why you probably need two years of rest, too.
All of our lives are hard. Especially when we put years and years of miserable subconscious pressure on ourselves and are ruled by elusive, societally dictated “shoulds” that make us feel like we are constantly inadequate and falling short.
That’s what we all have in common: subconscious, miserable, judgmental dialogue, running as a constant open program in the background, telling us for years we aren’t doing it right.
Well it made me tired. It makes us all tired, I think.
I’m tired physically from all the adrenaline, constant social drinking, and worrying. I’m physically tired from the rigemroll I put my body through, and the environmental and genetic stuff I didn’t have the wherewithal or time or rest to heal from.
I’m tired emotionally and mentally from all the anxiety I always had while I believed I wasn’t doing enough, and that I had to make everything work together, and had to make people think I could do it all and that I never, ever failed.
And I am tired existentially, because I have been anxiously thinking I’d end up alone, and it was all my fault. And every year that went by just proved this more and more: I was going to die alone. It was my fault. I should be… doing something about it? But I am tired I just want to chill and think about Game of Thrones.
I’m tired and I’m not sorry.
And I am going on two years of rest.
Why two years, you ask?
Because one year isn’t fucking enough.
Why not 5 years?
It probably will be. But 2 feels like a nice start.
What am I doing about rest? Like how am I applying rest?
I’m letting myself off the hook in every way. I don’t have to do anything. I don’t have to accomplish anything I don’t want to. I will say no until the cows come home. I will say no AFTER the cows come home. I will do what I need to do to preserve my fucking life force that I have been bleeding and sacrificing for years.
I will do the things that bring me joy, feed my soul, and everything else, forget it.
I do not have to be anywhere else in two years. I don’t have to get anywhere.
If I am in the exact same place in two years, great.
No pressure. No need for advancement or glory. No nothing.
And when I feel that familiar twinge of pushing or groping for things or worrying that things won’t work out and that I’m doing it all wrong, I pause and remember, Fuck That.
No really, Fuck That.
Also, I’m on two years of rest.
FIVE YEARS LATER:
Five years later I’m editing this to let you know that I have a book coming out (my second book) inspired by my two years of rest! It goes way deeper into my exhaustion, and my rest period, and how you can bring rest into your life too.
It’s called Tired as F*ck and you can pre-order now, and read the beginning for free!