Time Off Is Actually Time On

Although today started rather joyfully, and I even took a different route to work, enjoying one of the many breathtaking vistas of Lisbon, it somehow rolled into a bit of a drag. As the day progressed, a combination of extra work and accumulated fatigue, spiced with my insistence to finish as much as I could, made it feel heavy.

I decided to put a stop to it just minutes ago, which means for the last 11 hours I was working almost non stop (except when I walked or ate, that is). At times, I felt like I was pushing a train.

And as I took a few minutes to relax on the couch, I realized that taking time off is actually taking time on. I don’t know from where this expression came, and what was the original meaning, but taking time “off” in fact increases the meaningful time you experience, it doesn’t make it go away.

You see, when you turn the light off, it gets dark, but when you take time off, it gets better.

I know what you’re thinking, these are just words, and I’m looking for meaning where it isn’t, I’m just being picky. Well, maybe I am a bit picky, but I also know that we’re acting on conscious intent less than 10% of our awake time. The rest is unconscious. And our unconscious behavior is not at all picky, on the contrary, it takes things “at face value”. For our unconscious, “off” means “off”, and “on” means “on”.

Probably that’s why we expect to blend into some kind of numbness when we “take some time off”? When, in fact, what we really want is to experience more, to take in more, to do and be more? That’s why we took that time “off” in the first place, we re-allocated from some chore to something that it’s supposed to be meaningful.

I noticed another contradiction in terms a few years ago, this time related to deadlines, namely the fact that their name contains the “death” word, which isn’t very productive, so I decided to call them “livelines“. And it really made a difference.

So, as of now, I will think twice when I’m compelled to say “I’m taking some time off”. I will try to rephrase it into something more real, like “I’m taking some time on the side, just for me now”.

Which is exactly what I’m going to do after the last period of the last sentence of today’s blog post.

Photo by Bradley Ziffer on Unsplash




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