ramping up

Now that I’ve given you permission to stop, I want to talk about ramping back up.

Also, you never need to listen to me. I give you permission to ignore my permission.

Anyway. Ramping up sucks. It doesn’t matter what you are ramping up for or why or when. It is not going to be easy.

For me, ramping up means going back to daily writing work, daily fitness routine, and daily book reading. This week, in addition to the other things, I will be editing essays. It’s going to be a hell of a ride. I’m already tired.

But ramping up to the return is the hardest part. I think it gets easier with practice. I’ve been both fortunate and unfortunate to have had a lot of experiences where I needed to take a break. Jumping back into a heavy routine is never easy, but it does get a little easier with practice.

The big point is mental dedication. You need to plan for what is coming and then stick to that plan. It’s not always going to be comfortable. You’re going to feel tired and frustrated. You have to deal with it.

If you go into the first day and decide that you’ll put off the things you wanted to do to another day, you are setting yourself behind. By procrastinating, you’ve already given up on your commitment to your self-generated responsibilities.

I know that sounds big and daunting and, maybe, harsh.

However, I am a proponent of making a plan and sticking to the plan. That’s the mental dedication. I’ve decided that today/tomorrow/Monday, I am going to wake up, go for a run, go to work, write a blog post during the lunch hour, write at least 250-500 words after work, edit an essay, and then read some chapters of a novel. That’s the basics of my routine.

I try not to cheat myself out of these things. They are very important to me. I feel more accomplished after having really tried to squeeze every moment out of the day. I sleep better at night and I feel better during the day.

That might not be the same for you. Maybe your goals are different or less/more intense. That’s fine. But you need to think critically about how and why you do these things. Creating a routine that allows you to maximize your “side hustle” or your passion will not make you happy unless there’s a real, underlying purpose.

My purpose is that physical fitness and writing help me to maintain my happiness. It staves off my depression. It allows me to see each day as a new opportunity. For me, it’s an anchor. I anchor myself, my self worth, and my self confidence in the knowledge that on any given day I have tried my best to use that time for the things I love.

Now, things get in the way of that. Work is 8 hours a day that I need to live with. There is no quitting and becoming a freelancer. Sometimes, I have a very bad day and that means that maybe there’s no writing, maybe no workout, no blog post. But those are the exceptions.

It brings me back to mental dedication. If you have found something that you love and care about, you cannot allow yourself to neglect it for fear of being tired or busy. You have the make the time.

The world, generally, does not care about the 9-5 worker/artist. Our jobs, probably, are not going to turn around and grant us money for following our passion. The value associated with the things you love are self-assigned. If you believe in them and work terribly hard to grow and learn, you might find success that would alleviate you of your 9-5 duties.

But the chances are not good.

Mental dedication to a passion means knowing that information and getting up in the morning anyway.

So, yes. Stop. Take the time that you need. But also be ready to return to the grind. The world does not care if you decide not to write or knit or read or workout, etc. It only matters to you.


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