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Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht

Dithered black-and-white image of bubbles.

Earlier this week, a friend and former colleague asked on a Slack channel for resources to help plan the next five years. Along with others, I suggested the ikigai method, but then this morning explored further and came across this resource. It’s seems pretty good.

Planning for the future is something that I should be doing both personally and professionally. It’s something I’m used to doing. Something I help clients do.

I made a start but then kind of ran of steam. I wondered why. When I talked to a friend about it we agreed that it’s difficult to make plans when everything’s so uncertain. But then not to make plans makes us feel like we’re bobbing along a river, carried along by whichever way the currents take us.

Later, I read an article that came my way via a newsletter. I stopped planning. We need to give ourselves some space and not dive right back into the way things were. As the author says, we need to recharge.

I think the real problem is that life is still exhausting because the pandemic was and remains exhausting in so many invisible ways — and we still haven’t given ourselves space to even begin to recover. Instead, we’re just softly boiling over, emptying and evaporating whatever stores of energy and patience and grace remain.

[…]

So the first step is recognizing that you, too, need rest. Don’t just want it, don’t just fantasize about it, don’t just talk about it and then deny it, but need it, require it, in order to keep going. The second step is advocating for the structures that make it possible — on a personal, professional, and societal level — so that others can ask and receive rest too.

Source: Culture Study

My wife’s currently working full-time through the summer months on a contract that’s allowed her to change careers. It’s a wonderful opportunity, but she’s not worked full-time since before our 14 year-old son was born, and (as a former teacher) she’s never worked through the summer.

Although it’s disrupted our routines, what her contract has allowed me to do is to gently take my foot off the accelerator pedal for a moment. It’s not time to put it back down again for a few weeks yet.


English translation of title: “Man Plans, and God Laughs”. Image from an original by Karen Bailey.

Who are you without the doing?

A podcast I listened to recently took the structure of a Q&A hosted by Jocelyn K. Glei. The theme was ‘tender discipline’ and another episode was referenced where she asks the question someone once asked her: who are you without the doing?


Earlier this week, I wrote a personal email to my wife for the first time in a a long time. While we live together and are in constant communication either verbally or via a Telegram backchannel, sometimes things (kids, events, stuff) get in the way of having important conversations.

I kept the email short, saying that I’ve been talking for years about taking December off work. I told her that I’m done with 2020, that I don’t want to put any more energy into this year of all years.

As a result, we’ve worked out that Team Belshaw will be OK if I finish up my work next week and take three weeks off to stop… doing. That’s such a relief! I’ve spent the last couple of days checking with others that my gently downing tools won’t affect them too much.

The funny thing is that I’ll probably still end up doing things that look a bit like ‘work’. I’ll no doubt still head over to my office to do some writing. There’s a bunch of work-related reading I want to do. I’ll probably occasionally check in on the multiple Slack instances of which I’m a member. But mainly I’ll walk and think and just be.

I need to recharge, and realise that I’m privileged to be able to decide when to pick up and put down my work. Nevertheless, effective care for others starts with caring for ourselves. So I’m looking forward to spending more time with myself without the… doing.


This post is Day 71 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at 100daystooffload.com

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