One of the most useful things that I learned in college was nothing I got out of any seminar or lab, rather I learned it through experience. Through my everyday living and meeting all kinds of people, this lesson is how to relax.
Not what you expect to hear right? I mean in college we live from our morning coffee to our evening bloody marry. That is we go go go until we quite literally break down, and what’s more we are proud of this. I remember getting through those days by repeating the mantra- sleep is for the weak. But let me tell you this, if relaxation is wrong I don’t want to be right.
Culture often seems to push the importance of staying busy, working hard, being distracted from the world, and in school getting good grades is number one…but grades can’t always reflect how much you’ve learned. Since your paying a shit ton of money you might as well learn.
The problem is that even when we are relaxing we feel the need to be productive, I mean we feel the need to be producing something tangible, but after a day of hard work (or even hard play god forbid) why is it lazy to do nothing at all?
Personally I think it’s because we misunderstand what productive really means and because of this we hate doing nothing. It is pumped into us that by definition nothing is lame, nothing is boring, and that nothing is lazy. It’s only okay to do nothing on vacation but even then it makes us feel guilty. Most people fill their holidays with activities and events. We greet each other by saying ‘what’s up?’ or ‘what’s new?’ and if the answer is nothing we are perceived as being dull. Who stops to think that maybe a little dullness will actually push you to focus on the important things.
After all even Albert Einstein himself had to spend some time being dull in order to figure out his theory of relativity, and Leonardo Da Vinci had to be a little dull at times too in order to create. Life cannot always be exciting and sometimes we all as a culture, or maybe even as a species, seem to overlook that. That’s one of the many things I love about my dogs. They never get stressed, they do however get excited past what I think is even possible for me. I envy this about them and I even try and learn.
Many intelligent people have said that this is only because we are so much smarter than dogs (and animals in general) but if that is true then maybe intelligence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So they lie around and lick each other’s butts all day but that doesn’t reflect on their quality of life so long as they are happy. It seems to me that searching too hard for knowledge and purpose only leads to anxiety, and since anxiety is not productive at all it also seems that relying too much on hard work and intelligence leads to less productivity in the long run. If this is true then it goes to show that the ability to relax appropriately is integral in the equation for success.
(Note, especially if you have studied logic that, yes it is true that correlation is not causation but just stick with me.)
I love getting a little down time; this is when I relax with my dogs and also when I mentally list all that I need to get done. I am one of this generations many high anxiety people, I have things to get done and I don’t want to waist time. When I just stop though, breath or even maybe meditate, write things down, cultivate my plan I find that everything goes smoother in the long run. Since I’m not rushing or tired it is more beneficial to take on the day slowly, it allows for less mistakes and accidents along the way. That is, I’m actually more efficient when I let myself hit snooze a few times or fully condition my hair. If I intend to take on the world after all, I need to first look the part.
I say this for all the other high anxiety people out there like myself, the day is gonna roll on no matter what happens. All the things you need to do will get done, might as well enjoy yourself. Be a little more like your dog.