Thursday, March 22, 2018

Being Productive

I spent nearly half my life working for a major corporation.  Most of that time I was in management.  The most commonly heard word over the years was productivity.  At the end of the day it was all about the numbers.  Some numbers were too high while other numbers were too low.  Daily life was a juggling act to balance the numbers appropriately.  I actually had a reputation with many people as a numbers guy.  There was also talk about the need to develop people and help them to grow but the underlying intent was to make them more productive.  The image of Lucy and Ethel working on the candy wrapping assembly line is not too far from the truth.

Nearly three months into my retirement I still feel the need and pressure to be productive.  I need to read more books, do more meditation, watch more documentaries, play more music, take more walks, do more chores, write more "Daily Thoughts", etc.  It is difficult to break the cycle of a lifetime of constant pressure to be productive.  Most days my wife asks me "What did you do today"?

Theoretically, I believe in leisure.  There is even a school of thought that considers leisure as a sacred thing.  However, it is challenging to do nothing and still feel like you are doing something of value with your time.  I know that wasting time is not necessarily a bad thing but the reality is that so far in my retirement I have yet to spend a day doing nothing.  Would the world stop spinning if I didn't take a walk in the park?

I do not want to spend the rest of my life sitting in a chair and staring out my window.  I also do not want to spend the rest of my life driven to fill my day with endless activities.  At my age do I really need to feel a sense of accomplishment?  Are the primary tasks of my life not already accomplished?  I became an adult, got married, stayed married, started and finished a career, raised my children, and saved my money.  What else has to be done?  What else is truly necessary?  When do I get to finally relax?  Even though I am retired, I am not yet relaxed.

My Buddhist knowledge tells me I need to just let everything go and focus my attention on what is essential.  This is challenging because it is not always easy to determine who and what is truly essential.

Life demands movement.  Movement demands action.  Action usually involves a task.  A task is something that needs to be accomplished and accomplishments require some level of productivity.

I guess it all gets back to balance.  When I find the balance, I will feel the relaxation.  

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