Reflection: What does it mean to be a workaholic?
Work to live but don’t live to work. Plucking words from the mind, stitching them together into sentences and weaving them into paragraphs will create a text, but all of that takes time. Being a workaholic means crunching the amount of time these processes take and prioritising work over rest. The results can be good, bad or ugly.
If you haven’t yet realised that I am a workaholic, I must respectfully ask you, where have you been? I am neither proud nor resentful; instead, I have come to embrace this as my default method of functioning. As such, I must sometimes intervene and disrupt the burgeoning workflows before they breach the overwhelming threshold.
As a child, I juggled multiple hobbies; gymnastics, cheerleading, athletics and I might as well include gaming. In primary school, I even played for the football team as one of the two girls who made it into the squad. When I wasn’t toe-punting footballs or practising kick-ups, I would be perfecting a dance routine with friends in the playground or singing in the school choir; the latter was no doubt a fluke. On the weekends, I liked getting creative and making artistic things with my aunts and cousins.
I’m grateful that I was able to explore all of those interests because nowadays it means I’m never afraid to try anything new. I’m always willing to throw myself in at the deep end, and metaphorically speaking, I’ll either swim to the other end of the pool or make my way to the edge, climbing out when I’m not enjoying myself. As an adult, I am closer to knowing my strengths, which is a combination of creativity, generating ideas and making things happen (usually a piece of writing or some other random project).
I often set extremely high goals for myself and then forget to adjust them as I’m going along. After accruing new projects and following the rabbit hole of my next big idea, I find myself with more than enough work to fit in a single week but hardly any time leftover for relaxing — whatever that is. Juggling multiple projects is an important skill to have, but it only serves me well when I remember that the time available for work is not infinite. Otherwise, I will run myself into the ground, my anxiety will be through the roof and I’ll neglect to look after my body.
The last time I let workaholism take hold of me, I ended up in the hospital, diagnosed with a chronic illness (triggered by stress), but more on that another day.
For someone who cares deeply about being thorough and consistent, breaking the targets I set for myself feels like committing a crime. But as the gesture from Insecure’s Kelly that lives in my mind rent-free suggests, if I am seeking growth, I must avoid demanding more of myself than what is sustainable.
Truth be told, I have never understood these concepts of self-care and find it very difficult to relax. And while there’s a lack of sunshine and no possibility of seeing live music or a good DJ set, I find that I am lost.
Under this capitalist system, self-care is rooted in individualism and consumerism. Of course, people need to look after themselves, but with us being stuck indoors and glued to our social media feeds, our imaginations can get easily stifled. When I say self-care, what do you imagine? Did you envision a face mask, a relaxing bath or a glass of wine? If yes, the beauty, retail and influencer industry would be proud. In reality, not everyone will find these activities relaxing — no shade to those who do. Either way, I’m checking out of writing this blog for the month of March. I’ll return revitalised and refreshed, ready to deliver more stories about languages, social issues, politics, music and anything else that fits into my eclectic mix.