You know what I'm talking about. Hint: not the dance from the 70's.
The rush. The craze. The frenzy. The urgency. The panic in our lives astounds me. We live in a culture of busy. A culture that rewards the hustle. A culture that encourages the mad dash.
We go, go, go, go. We live our lives like sprint runners giving 1000% of our energy into GETTING. IT. DONE. But rather than a short sprint, we do this all day. Every day. Round the clock.
And you know what? Living in this permanent state of chaos is not sustainable. Americans really don't get that. Other cultures recognize the value of pressing the pause button of life to actually LIVE IT, but we don't. We wish for more hours in a day, we don't wish for more joy in the hours we have. And therefore we are overwhelmed, panicked, stressed, anxious, defeated, exhausted, drained, depressed, or worse: we're just immune to it and numb. Every day we're hustlin'.
I swear… EVERY conversation I have with people is "I've been crazy busy lately." Every other tweet hints at being overwhelmed. I get in this place a lot, don't get me wrong. I do. I totally do.
But I also need to veg. I need downtime. I need time to do nothing. I need time not to think. Not to dwell. Not to plan. Not to go. I just need to sit and bask in the glorious silence of rest. I need to watch my son laugh. I need to stop what I'm doing and hug my husband. I need to take naps. I need to pray. I need to read.
But when I'm in this place of stopping the hustle, the world still spins around me. I sit back and watch the hustle, and I feel so irresponsible. So inferior. So friggin' lazy. The hustle struggle is so real.
Because no one Instagrams pictures of themselves napping. They post the hustle. They post pictures of MacBooks with cups of coffee… and the comments are all "get it, girl!" This isn't totally wrong, mind you. We need some hustle. I'm all for working hard. Hard work is important. The grit & grind that comes with working hard is part of living a healthy life.
But at what point is it too much? At what point is the hard work no longer healthy? At what point does the hustle become a black hole that consumes all of our stamina, peace, joy, love, kindness, patience, humility, grace, calmness, energy, and life? At what point does the hustle steal from life rather than add to it?
I think it's the point when the hustle stops being a means to provide and starts being a method to prove yourself.
When you work so hard to buy a beautiful, huge, perfectly decorated open floor plan to prove yourself… rather than providing a peaceful, joyful home with happy healthy children, you've passed that point.
When you schedule your kids in 15 different sports to prove yourself as a parent raising a rockstar jock… rather than providing them quality time & love them no matter what the scoreboard says, you've passed that point.
When you work so into the night to prove yourself to your boss… rather than working hard on that project and working just as hard at loving your family, you've passed that point.
When the hustle becomes solely about making you feel good about you… and you throw your coworkers under the bus to suck up the glory, you've passed that point.
There is such a fine line between providing and proving that it's virtually invisible. It's so hard to detect. You often don't notice you've passed this line until you're so far past it you don't know how to find your way back.
There is no amount of hustle that will make you feel like you've achieved your goal in proving yourself. Proving yourself is a fleeting feeling. Once you've done that, you'll need to prove yourself again to feel that rush. And again. And again. And you'll blink and be at the end of your life without ever truly living it.
So work hard. Hustle hard. Work very hard at providing for your family. Provide them with food, shelter, clothing, joy, laughter, memories, kindness, guidance, work ethic, boundaries, rest and BALANCE.
Please don't hustle so hard that you forget how to smile. Hustle responsibly.