Sunday, June 7, 2009

Life Zappers

There has been this on-going dialogue between some friends and I about the pressure of expectation that this city so insistantly pushes onto its inhabitants. The pressure of success, achievement, power, prestige, glamour, luxury, running with the right crowd, and networking seem to be the life-blood and 395, 66, Constitution, and the Parkway are its veins. So many of us get wrapped up in the thought that we have to work, work, work now and someday, one day, we will get to a place where we can slow down and enjoy the benefits. Let's be honest though, the demands only get more steep and we find ourselves living in a culture where we have to plan dinner with a friend a month in advance.

Now don't get me wrong. I believe wholeheartedly in hard work, sacrifice, and discipline. There is tremendous value to these things and on a daily basis I have to submit to their necessity. However, there seems to be an issue with balance for most of us. Most of DC's 6 million dwellers are missing out of the simple pleasures of this city and their lives because they are so consumed with one form or another of success.

My weekend consisted of none of those things yet I would consider it an extremely successful. I spent an afternoon sitting on the stoop with an old friend. I spent time with the sweetest of all little girls and got to be the one who saw her smile as she woke up from her nap. I roamed the aisles of Wegman's, letting my imagination go wild. I drove fast with my windows down, sunroof open, and sang on the top of my lungs - all by myself. I had a conversation with a well-respected and Godly friend that challenged my thoughts on missions, outreach, community, and family. From DC's perspective, I achieved nothing. From my perspective, I achieved sanity and balance while experiencing simple joy.

I know that bills have to be paid, responsibilities fufilled, progress made. Oh trust me, I know this - this is all coming from a girl that is a high D (DISC) with her top two Strengths (StrengthFinder 2.0) being Achievement and Responsibility! But those things alone aren't healthy - at least for long periods of time. There has to be balance. If we're burned out, what good are we to what we have been called to do? God created a world full of amazing pleasures both big and small. Are you delighting in them or are you whizzing by so fast that you don't even realize they're there?


Ryan said...

I agree. I think that sometimes the biggest pressures we find can come from within. I know I place more pressure on myself than anything else.

I think I tend to unconsciously do the things I need to do to recharge...hang out with friends, write, think, etc. I think I do notice it when I don't, because that's when I start to feel burn-out. But I need to get better at scheduling them in my day and recognizing them.

Alex Witherow said...

Good points. I enjoyed this!

And you shouldn't be speeding with that record of yours ;) Not that I should talk...haha.