I came across this quote the other day that rankled me …
“Rest until you feel like playing, then play until you feel like resting. Never do anything else.” —Martha Beck, from Finding Your Way in a Wild New World
I’ll tell you a little secret: Left to my own devices, I’d sleep all day and stay up reading all night.
(I’d also eat Cheez-Its and peanut butter M&Ms for dinner every night.)
This statement from Martha Beck (whom I like, don’t get me wrong!) feels to me like it dismisses the energy and sheer integrity it takes for some of us to get out of bed, stop messing around, and DO things in this world.
On the subject of play — writing books is fun … but it isn’t always fun. Still, I find it meaningful, and so I push through when it doesn’t feel playful anymore.
On the subject of rest — downtime is important. But if I don’t motivate myself to get off the couch, “rest” quickly turns into lethargy and then eventually depression.
Like a stool requires three legs to stand, rest and play must also be supported by work.
This work is our job / profession / career, yes. It’s also the work of raising a family. Participating in community. Critical thinking. Caring for the environment. Doing hobbies. Keeping house. Voting. It’s all important, and it all involves NOT resting and NOT playing sometimes.
I don’t believe we are on this planet to rest. Nor do I believe we’re here only to play. Each of us is here for a purpose — and seeing to that purpose means doing the work.