The Art of Striving for Nothing


Translation: Hurry up.

Actual Translation: for the love of God, Elena, if I have to watch you tie your shoes for the next 10 minutes you’re going barefoot.

I was 8 years old when my mom came into my room to ask if I finished my math homework, and I replied with:

“Did you know that there are 58 bricks on the house across the street?” 

I was reminded weekly that I functioned at a painfully slow pace.

It took me 3 hours to complete a sheet of homework. I stayed in for recess to finish tests until I was 8. I would practically get dragged to school because I walked too slow and “last one there is it” basically meant, “Elena you’re it.”

The only thing I didn’t take my time doing was eating.

The legend herself taking it easy on a Sunday morning in 2004.


But now I ask, who made the rules? After 20 years of growing up surrounded by deadlines and constantly moving forward, I have forgotten how to press pause.

In grade 7 it’s “I can’t wait until grade 8.” You turn 18 and it’s “can’t wait until i’m 19 and legal to drink.” When you finish your 5 midterms, it’s “can’t wait until exams are over.” You get a job and you start looking forward to retirement. So once you hit retirement will it be “I can’t wait until I’m dead?”

It’s heartbreaking how quickly we forget to stop to smell the roses… or count the bricks on the house across the street.

We have defined procrastination as a weakness regardless of what great things we may accomplish in procrastinating.

I was probably the slowest Grade 3 in my school, but I also finished that year with straight A’s. My speed and efficiency had nothing to do with my competence.

So where are we all rushing to?

I got to a point where when all my midterms and assignment were complete, I would break down and cry.  Every single time.

Image result for midterms

Carpe Diem is one of the biggest misconceptions in our society. It does not mean, finish as many things as you can possibly schedule into your day, week or life. It means enjoy every minute of whatever you are doing.

Go for a walk and don’t think about what time you need to be home. Cook yourself food when you’re hungry instead of setting the microwave on high for 12 min.

You must draw the line for yourself. Draw multiple lines in fact. Taking a break from the gym isn’t going for a 5K run you know you won’t enjoy. Taking a break from writing isn’t going on twitter while your essay tabs are still open.

The well known Ying-Yang symbol comes from Taoism. An ancient Chinese religion/philospohy that preaches ideas such as being yourself, owning nothing and  effortless actions.

All I strive for is to be non-striving. A Taoist philosophy (wu-wei), where you act effortlessly and spontaneously. The Taoists believe that life is dynamic, there is good, there is bad, and happiness is not an end goal, but rather a result of doing what you deem worthy of your time.

… and here’s the thing about time, once you stop rushing, you will find you have plenty of it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.