Taking time out
Dear M & A,
This is yet another little Heart Talk that falls into the ‘do as I say, not as I did’ category.
When you begin your full-time working life, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of trying to make a really good impression by working really hard. That’s great. But if you’re doing this, as I fully expect you’ll do, you’ll also have to resist the urge to keep working without taking a break.
Sometimes you’ll just get so wrapped up in what you’re doing that you will forget to take a holiday. Sometimes you’ll be worried about what will happen when you’re not there. You may be worried about the cost or you may be afraid they’ll discover they can carry on without you. Or that they actually perform better when you’re not there.
Neither of these things will happen. And if they do, then so what? Life is full of twists and turns. But if you don’t take regular breaks you will get burned out and your work will suffer. As a result, the thing you originally feared (losing your job) will actually come true because you didn’t take a break.
The mind and body need to take regular breaks. Take holidays. See the world. Unwind. Relax. Recharge. Do nothing. Do something. Take a moment to collect your thoughts and plot your next course.
There were too many times when you were growing up that your mum and I forgot to take time out. It would then take us half the holiday to unwind. It also puts a lot of pressure on everyone to make the most of the holiday. So when things go pear-shaped, like that time we went to Palm Cove and it rained nearly every day (“Wettest October day ever!” said the news headlines; “It’s never normally like this,” said the locals), we really felt let down.
In situations like that, there’s too much pressure to have the perfect time simply because we hadn’t had a holiday in years. So please take regular well-earned breaks. And always try and plan your next trip within a month of returning from your last one. It gives you something to look forward to.
…live a little but love it a lot.
One of the other things I would also encourage you to do is combine work with travel. Pursue opportunities that allow you to work overseas. It’s much easier to see the rest of the world when you’re closer to it.
Australia is a very isolated country where an hour of travel can leave you in the same city. Whereas an hour of travel from London or Singapore gets you into at least a handful of completely different countries with different cultures, people, experiences, memories and adventures.
Embrace life. Live a little. Obviously not as much as your mother did when she lived in London. We won’t mention that time she and her friends got arrested in Prague for “allegedly” climbing on a statue in a bar like monkeys. That’s a little too much living for my liking. So live a little but love it a lot.
Don’t forget to take regular time-outs. Don’t forget to gather new experiences. Don’t get stuck in a routine. And don’t forget to call.