24/7, pedal to the metal, flat out. Were trapped on a gerbil wheel no matter how fast we run, the world wants us to run faster. Were wired into our work and our networks; we talk (but hopefully not text!) on our phones while were driving, we talk or e-mail on our smart phones while were at the store and even in the bathroom. When we have a vacation, we have to do much of our work before we leave, and the rest is waiting for us when we get back. Even worse, technology now allows us to take our work with us on vacation, so we dont really have a vacation we just change our work location.
We know that this is not healthy. Wisdom literature tells us that we need time to recharge, to let go (for example, the Jewish and 19th century Christian practice of Sabbath). In fact, the word recreation comes from that expectation re-creation creating ourselves anew. Except modern recreation does not do that it is all about competition and winning the championship.
We are natural organisms, and natural organisms have cycles. For example, nature itself has 4 seasons, including winter (time to recharge). As natural organisms, we are designed to have a work/life balance. Running 24/7 is both unnatural and unsustainable. Even though we know that, we do it anyhow.
Interestingly, its the helping professions that are among the worst offenders. Pastors, doctors, social workers, therapists all are prone to sacrificing their own good for the good of the patients/clients. High-tech also tends to practice a work/work balance since the large high-tech companies have locations around the world, it is expected that a person in Portland (Oregon) will be on a conference call at 2 a.m.
Japan has carried this to extreme they even have a term for the death of a worker on the job, usually from heart attack or stroke: karshi, which translates into overwork death. A related term, karjisatsu, refers to suicide caused by overwork.
As for me, I recharge as I prepare to lead an adult class on spiritual matters. This grounds me, reconnects me with God and humanity, and helps me put things in perspective. I recharge as I walk around our neighborhood. I recharge as a spend time with friends, just hanging out with no agenda.
What do you do to recharge? Id enjoy hearing from you.
Next week: Let your life speak