In Defense Of Doing Nothing

Rise and grind. Crush this day. Good things come to those who hustle. Wake up beauty, it’s time to beast. You can cry about it, or boss up and do something about it.

Does anyone else get the message from Pinterest quotes that every waking minute should be spent working, grinding, hustling and striving? Perhaps you prefer to crush the day, kill the game or smash your goals. However you phrase it, it seems like if you’re not hustling, and violently, you’re wasting your time.

Millennial burnout has been a hot topic lately, first described by Buzzfeed writer Anne Petersen as doing so much work on top of normal life tasks—exercising, paying bills, making meals—that she became paralyzed to do basic errands.

But I don’t think this burnout phenomenon is unique to millennials; it’s just part of being human. Everyone at every age has the potential to be burned out by their lives, even if they love their families, friends and work. Things like mailing a package or registering to vote sometimes get put off for weeks or months because I just can’t imagine adding one more thing to my day.

But where we learn the bad habits of burning ourselves out may depend on generational differences. For many of us millennials, we learned the burnout cycle in high school. We had to take as many college classes as possible, get our GPA and test scores up and participate in multiple extracurriculars to even get accepted into well-ranked colleges. (I’m a proud Gator alumna, but I don’t think I’d get in if I applied today; the admissions process has only become more competitive.) Then the fight for graduation and internships is on. By the time we actually land a job, this “do the most” mentality is pretty much ingrained.

I, for one, have worked a full-time job while writing freelance on the side, taking online certification courses, looking to buy a home and balancing a long-distance relationship. I thought because I could do it all, I should do it all. Worse, I ignored my instincts to back off myself because I thought, “Well, if I just hustle harder, I can have it all.”

I got hustled by hustle culture.

Millennials aren’t special when it comes to feeling burned out. So this summer, can we all promise to take our collective foot off the gas every once in a while and just be? To all the parents, successful career men and women, people who take time to volunteer and pretty much every human ever, be sure to take time to decompress and invest in yourself. I say those Pinterest quotes can shove it—time spent resting, connecting with others and truly doing nothing is spent just as wisely as trying to do it all.

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