On Saturday I walk out of my room here in Rome at 4pm, on my way out the door to start my day after waking up at noon. Loud audible sigh of disappointment, dramatic entrance to the kitchen, I look at my flatmate with big guilty eyes. "I'm LAZY." He laughs. "Yes, I know." Internal scream, I roll it back. "NO I'M NOT. I'm resting. I worked 80 hour weeks on 5 hours of sleep. For years. I DESERVE THIS. God and Rome want me to sleep. You don't understand." He laughs as he walks out the door. I hear him laughing down the 10 flights of stairs to the street on his way to being productive.
Me, lazy? I was kidding. He was not.
I spent the better part of the last few days holding on to that. When you walk away from the job and the energy and the steam and flow that drove you for the better part of a decade, move from 80 hour weeks to what feels like 0 hour weeks, and move from effortlessly firing off one hundred emails to agonizing over those three emails you need to send, and find yourself napping in parks and sleeping in 7 hours past your previous wake up call...that can feel like lazy. That can feel like death. Especially to a workaholic Type A hyper-achieving, people pleasing perfectionist.
Here is the thing. It IS death. It's the death of a part of me that needed external validation, needed to be needed, needed to be perfect and great and better than the other 1000 people I worked with. It's the death of the part of me that woke up to please and prove. It's the death of a very unsatisfied girl. A girl living for what other people thought she should be, or what she thought other people thought she should be. It is the cold blooded murder of a personal identity that I wore for a third of my life.It's the excision of a personal identity, the shedding of a skin.
It's also necessary, because without this death, there could not be the birth of the new. The new beautiful skin that is ready to be gently exposed would not see the light of day without the shedding of the old. And new, beautiful, delicate skin has entirely new care instructions.
To find yourself, your dharma, and your life's calling, to sprout new roots to sustain your new self. To FIND yourself. All of it requires breathing room. All of it requires space. All of it requires doing things that look a lot like lazy.
In the last 28 days I've read 4 books, journaled 100 pages, written 10 articles, practiced 1500 minutes of yoga and meditation, seen 10 museums, became conversationally comfortable in Italian, and learned the entire geographic layout of the oldest city in western civilization. More importantly, I've slept 300 hours, walked 200 miles, taken 2,000 photos, eaten 100 pastries, drank 150 cappuccinos, dated multiple Italian men whose names I will never remember, and done whatever the fuck I have wanted to do. As my heart desires. As my heart needs. I have found pieces and places of me that I didn't know existed. I have found more authenticity, more clarity, more Holly. I've fallen MADLY in love with life. I've fallen MADLY in love with me.
I haven't been busy by any stretch of the imagination. Especially not in the way our crazy, demanding, relentless competitive first world defines busy. I haven't been scheduled or timely, and the output I'm used to is just not there. But what has come from the space I've allowed - that oh-so-feared lazy space - has been the most qualitative and productive work of my life. Because I'm finally the production.
There is plenty of time left in this life to work myself back up into the tizzy that are 80 hour weeks. For now, call me lazy.