Toronto is a city I love. I love its texture and diversity, and how it has laser beams of inspiration flying in every direction. I love how it challenges us.
But I’ve noticed something very different about big cities in North America versus… anywhere else I’ve ever traveled or stayed.
Should we have spare time to simply be ourselves (especially as entrepreneurs), we feel guilty to admit it. We feel like it’s a space that needs to be filled immediately, either with friends, family or more work, and we’re not taking time to simply be who we are most genuinely.
It’s very important to be connected to your work, especially if that work is a business offering a service that also serves you. But there is a difference between connection and attachment. I conveniently saw a post today saying something along the lines that connection strengthens you and helps you grow, and attachment starves and stunts you.
I’ve had this conversation with many of my clients. We can only really talk about how busy we are. If I’m not rushing right out of bed in the morning, and rushing into bed at night, I feel guilty as if I’m not doing as much as I can for one, twenty or fourty people. If I take time off, I struggle for weeks trying to make up for it.
I work in wellness. And wellness is not just choosing the salads while you cheese-grater the surface of your life, driving your inner child into the ground to “serve others”. We absolutely MUST carve out time for ourselves, to be exactly who we are. Connected, but not attached, to our jobs and / or responsibilities.
I think we are also subconsciously guilting each other at times - our service providers, our friends, our partners and our families. If someone is trying to place a boundary to be able to restore, by having some time to simply be who they are as a human, do we not accidentally bug them to “Oh come on, come out!” Or “well I expect you to spend that time making up for being unavailable to me now”. Be honest with yourself, do you?
We need to encourage each other’s downtime.
How unhealthy is it to feel that you are constantly coming up short, but your own personal cup is never filled? It isn’t a life, to be rushing all the time but lacking personal growth. That’s the fastest way to waste it all.
This year, I scrambled to push through my injury. Then I scrambled to make up for it. Then when it was play time, I scrambled to be ON for that zone too. And the real human being in me was absolutely starving. And I’ll recognize it, and try to correct it, and slowly get sucked back into the same pattern. At times I’m afraid of the city because of this addiction I seem to have to shut the inner child up, and just do as much as I possibly can.
All the workouts and nutrition in the world are not going to do a thing to enrich our lives if we don’t have some time to simply oxygenate ourselves as human beings. We are not commodities, we may provide a service but that service will soon fall flat if the real energy (inner child) behind it lacks oxygen, or dies.
I’m referring to the individual human in us as the inner child because it’s the part of us we need to protect the most, in an increasingly robotic world. It’s the part responsible for growth, for experiences and for pleasure. And it’s the first thing we squash when we try to do too much.
We just need to be honest about this pattern that many of us are living in the big city. I don’t have a solution yet, I’m just recognizing that this is a challenge I need to confront more regularly to be able to feel most alive and therefore be able to help others optimally.
Every good change starts with awareness, and better yet, a conversation.