Coworker – “Mornin’ Danny, how are you?”
Brain – “violently anxious! crippled with self doubt! Mentally and physically exhausted 15 minutes into Monday morning! Aaaaaahhhhhh!!”
Danny – “Good!” (insert smile), “you?”
Coworker – “Good” (Awkward pause) (forced smile) (walk away)
Why do we do this to ourselves? I get it; a 15 second conversation hallway conversation isn’t the right place or time for an in depth heart to heart conversation on a higher state of mind and what keeps us up at night, but damn, we are both clearly lying to each other for the sake of hitting social ques. The worst part is, I’m living the dream. This is the life I’ve hoped, dreamed and worked for. Most of all, worked for.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have gotten to the place I am. It’s taken every bit of both my privilege and work ethic to keep trudging forward in what I hope is the right direction. If I need to work a 90-hour week to keep my startup company kicking, I’ll do it. Product development, startups, and hopefully making the world a better place are my passion, but they are not always fun, and definitely not comfortable.
At the end of the day, you need to fight for your passion. And it’s not just you against the world, but it’s you against your self. There’s easier ways to make a living; the only mandatory items on the To Do list are breathing and taxes. But that being said, you can fight for your passion until it breaks you. I get to the point where I ask myself “Idealistic 4th grade Danny would be ecstatic on how my life turned out, so why am I exhausted and miserable?” How did the sprint toward my dream become my nightmare?
I’ve found my answer. If you dare to work as hard as you can toward any goal, you need to draw your line. How much can you physically and mentally handle? I’m easily found guilty of pushing this boundary far too often until I find myself with a fake smile while questioning how the hell I got here. I lose my working pace and start sprinting until I’m too exhausted and anxious to move. I’ll work until I get so worked up that I get no work done at all. So I stop, think, and rest. Maybe I’ll go run; maybe I’ll drink a beer with a friend, anything to bring my mind back to sanity so I can start again.
You can only sprint so far, pace yourself, enjoy the scenery. But when you do forget pace and break down, take the time to fix yourself. You’re worth your time.