Doing Nothing to restore Happiness: my reflections on a week spent in the mountains of Utah

 

Photos, or at least those taken by me, will never fully capture the beauty of Utah

I have plenty of happiness in my life and plenty to share although it may be admittedly less profound or deep than some of my usual content. As those of you who may happen to regularly follow this blog have probably noticed, I haven’t posted as often as usual. Nothing is wrong, I simply have found myself busy and practicing what several people, namely my therapist and my girlfriend, have recommended I do, which is to do nothing.

Myself, and many others like me, understand what it is like to feel as if we must always be doing something. I find it very difficult to switch off my brain and be comfortable doing nothing. Whether it is studying languages, (I am currently learning 4 – Mandarin, French, Spanish, and German), exercise, reading, or working, I always find myself busy. This isn’t inherently bad. All of the aforementioned activities bring me immense joy not just as I see myself progressing at whatever I am doing, but in the moment as well I find myself happy and fulfilled. However, the far end of the spectrum is that I can tend to put large amounts of pressure on myself. If I miss a day of studying language, I may beat myself up for it. If I skip a workout because I wasn’t feeling well or because I had a late night the previous evening, I will feel as if I missed an opportunity to improve. In a sense this may be true but ultimately, so what? One of the things I must remind myself is that life is to be enjoyed, and even while I may find purpose in certain activities or meaning in certain causes, I, and anyone else who feels similarly, should remember, in the words of Richard Carlson, not to sweat the small stuff; and to remember that in life, it’s all small stuff.

All that is to say that I put similar pressures on myself when it comes to writing this blog. My lack of content of late is not a loss of interest or that I am quitting, rather quite the opposite. I admittedly had felt a bit burned out of late and rather than crush myself under the self-imposed pressure of turning out 4-6 posts per week, I decided to take a step back, relax, gather some ideas, and come back with renewed vigor when I felt ready. This equates to taking one step backwards in order to take two steps forwards. I remain highly invested in the success of this blog, particularly in the sense that I want to provide a happy medium that enriches and brightens my reader’s lives. That will never change, but from time to time I must recognize that I am responsible first and foremost from myself, and that if I feel burned out I should take a step back.

Thus, here I am. I am back, with renewed vigor at least if not with new ideas. Thus far I have rambled about burnout, and made excuses for my less-than-normal content output. Much of the reason was that I spent the majority of last week enjoying a company reward’s trip which I and a number of colleagues were lucky enough to experience as incentive for exceeding our goals last year. I was able to travel  with one of my oldest friends as my guest, my girlfriend being unable to attend, where we spent an incredible several days amongst my colleagues in beautiful Park City Utah. If you have never had the chance to enjoy Utah and the Rocky mountains, whether you are from here in the United States or from abroad, I highly recommend you do it. The weather alone was reason to enjoy it as we were blessed with 3 days of barely a cloud in the sky, high temperatures in the low 80’s Fahrenheit and low temperatures in the upper 50’s. Thus we were able to enjoy many a good hour at the pool where I practiced doing nothing. I barely even cracked a book, deciding instead to give myself a break and connect with the people around me, and more importantly relax!

True to form however I did a little more than simply relax and do nothing. I had to do a little bit of activity. The highlights of the adventure portion of our trip included getting to watch a number of current, past, and hopeful-future Olympic skiers perform some of their training routine; a 5 mile hike to a pristine waterfall with some of the coldest water I have felt (you know I had to get in – didn’t hike all that way for nothing); and perhaps most excitingly: a run down the Olympic bobsled course – we survived. In between these insanely fun activities and ample time spent doing nothing I enjoyed many laughs and exquisite meals. I even had more than a handful of drinks. I typically abstain from drinking, I generally don’t like the feeling of being drunk, especially the inevitable hangover the following day, and I take pride in my ability to abstain. That said, I wanted to enjoy myself, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some relaxing beverages in a nice setting with awesome people, so that is exactly what I did. For me the best part was perhaps the fact that I actually let myself just be there and have fun. I didn’t stress myself out over reading my standard 30 minutes a day or about being diligent with my exercise – I only saw the gym once; I didn’t feel guilty about the food or alcohol being consumed. To put it simply, I just enjoyed the moment. And I feel so happy for it. I look forward to being back and enjoying the habits and activities that bring me such joy and make me who I am, but I am grateful for a week well-spent and for the relaxation both mental and physical that it afforded.

 

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