Put the Cape Down
Someone dear to me suggested this as a topic because it’s evident that many of us suffer from the Superhero Complex. Though it’s hard for me to write about something I almost never follow, I realize that this time, I’m part of the audience. So, I’ll be seated at the front row of the class, writing notes on how to relax, taught by the version of me I’d like to be, the version of me I once was.
When I was younger, I wanted to be older. Now that I’m older, I miss being younger.
We have no control over time. We can’t will it to move faster, slower or least of all turn back. Time just is. All we can do is manage what we do, when we do it, moment to moment.
I find that the easiest way to define one thing is to comparing it with it’s antonym.
Here are a few examples:
- Being productive means making time to play.
- Working hard means having free time to rest.
This, and countless other examples, leads to the contemplation of the unity of opposites. This is where one thing cannot win without the other losing.
You cannot work hard in the office if you don’t rest the night before, and you can’t rest until you’ve completed all your tasks.
You cannot work on a project if you do not make money off of it, and you’ll not make any income if you don’t work on the project at hand.
In all cases, the common denominator, the sole currency at our disposal, is time. It becomes clearer, albeit gradually, how important it is for us to know our limitations.
Without carefully treading the fine line between the opposing forces, we end up falling into what we think is the best option.
We work long hours and sleep less in the hopes that we’ll beat our deadlines. We pack our calendars with TODOs, back-to-back meetings and optimistic timetables of all the things we need to have done, with no time slotted to eat, or at least sleep a regular 7 hours.
We gauge our success with our pay slips, or our accreditations (in and out of the office); and not by our friendships or hobbies.
We compare achievements by how long it took to accomplish them, and not by what we learnt in the process.
We refuse to fall ill, because we believe that no work will go on in our absence. We are too important to go missing. We are indispensable. We are super heroes.
All this is a lie we tell ourselves, in an attempt to convince ourselves that we have power over time.
Stop, put your cape down and take a seat. For the next minute or so do absolutely nothing other than observing your surroundings. Did anything stop? Has anyone frozen in time due to your moment of inactivity? If your answer is no, you may have just come to a shocking realization. Life doesn’t stop moving forward.
The world won’t end if you take a break and read a book. No war will erupt if you sleep for 8 hours tomorrow. No deadline is worth a stress induced illness.
The hardest thing to face is our vulnerability. Our limitations. The fact that even though we want to do more, to be more, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Taking a breather may be seen as a waste since nothing is really done. What we don’t realize is that batteries need recharging. Vehicles need refueling. Humans need relaxing. Consider the last couple of minutes you spent reading this article a step in the right direction.
Even superheroes have day jobs.