I have many hobbies, activities, and practices I enjoy, but I don’t do all of them all year round. In the summer I like camping. I’m not excited about camping when it’s too wet or too cold, so that’s off my radar during early spring, late fall, and all of winter. I love sewing and baking, but they are inherently indoor activities so I get excited about them in fall and winter and pay them no mind during spring and summer when the outdoors is most inviting.
This week I took a martial arts class in a style new to me called White Crane Silat. The instructor offered a reminder to embrace the natural rhythm of what I’m seasonally drawn to and rest-in to those urges. It’s winter time right now and I feel drawn to slower, cozier activities. I don’t want to work at a break-neck pace, cramming in everything I can before the sudden economic marker of year-end. I’d rather wind-down gently and ooze across the date line into next year.
We don't all have the option to control the pace of our work, and we often cannot control the pace of our life, so it feels important to take advantage of whatever moments I am able to direct. The last few years I have closed my office for the final two weeks of the year. This began partly to ensure clients got their year-end questions to me long before December 31st, partly to ensure I could accomplish the necessary year-end tasks for my business, and partly to take time off for the holidays. This year I found myself wishing I had the whole month to hibernate.
Taking any time off as a self-employed person is not easy. It involves an obscene amount of planning and preparation. And even with all the out-of-office notifications and staff working on projects while I'm away, I still have to touch-in periodically if I'm gone more than a couple days. If I don't, I will return to an unscalable mountain of email and too many to-do's. And yet, it's still worth going through all the hassle of leaving and coming back to enjoy some time away.
I wish it was as possible to put the world on pause sometimes. We get close with societally synchronized holidays. When the majority of other people are also paying more attention to family and festivities than business, it lessens the occupational FOMO and makes checking-out of work a little less inconvenient for people like me. It's also a relic of a time when human society was more aligned with natural rhythms because we had to be. A time before we had widely available technology to overcome seasonal fluctuations of temperature, light, and food availability.
Today we can turn on the heat (or the AC) and drive ourselves to the grocery store where we can buy almost any fruit or veg or grain, no matter the season. Before we could adapt the world to our whims, we had to adapt ourselves to the seasonal flow of the world in order to survive it. This year I am appreciating the holiday season as a reminder of a deeper connection between humans and nature. If we can see past the sparkle and dazzle of capitalist holiday tradition, it would probably do us all some good to embrace a little more of the natural season than many of us generally do.
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Jaydra is a human in-process, working to make the world a better place. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and observations about the human experience.