Motivated Laziness

Mew will teach nap­ping lessons

It’s 5 o’clock on a Sat­ur­day, and I’ve just fin­ished up a jam-packed day… of relax­ing.

I woke up late (for me) at 8 am.
I made a smooth­ie for break­fast at 9.
Then I spent a good chunk of the morn­ing reply­ing to com­ments and answer­ing emails.
After that, I took a nap. The sun was shin­ing, the cat was purring, I felt tired; so I slept. Until 230 pm.
I made some tea with lunch and then read part of a book until 4.
My house­mate came home, so I went upstairs, washed my dish­es from lunch, and chat­ted a bit with him before grab­bing a soda and com­ing back down­stairs to my base­ment.
After I fin­ish writ­ing this post, I might start anoth­er. Or, I might grab some cheese, crack­ers, and veg­gies for din­ner before mak­ing some pop­corn and watch­ing a movie.

It’s been a good day. I’ve thor­ough­ly enjoyed hang­ing out by myself, catch­ing up on some stuff around the base­ment, and just gen­er­al­ly recov­er­ing from a long week at work.

Had I done this at my parent’s house, though, I would’ve been called lazy.

I was called lazy all the time grow­ing up. Two of my great­est plea­sures involved lying hor­i­zon­tal on my bed for hours and not mov­ing: Play­ing video games on a revolv­ing door of hand­held gam­ing sys­tems and read­ing a stack of books.

Every time I did one of these things my par­ents would pause by the door, look in, see me seem­ing­ly do noth­ing, and then pro­ceed to try to make me do oth­er things.

Why are you _______ when you need to do _____ chore?”
“Why are you _______ when it’s such a nice day out­side?”

Need­ing the time to relax was nev­er a good answer.

But now I’m real­iz­ing tak­ing the time to relax — car­ing for myself — is actu­al­ly a legit­i­mate answer.

Not hav­ing time to relax was a major rea­son I got out of the mil­i­tary. My ser­vice only required one week­end a month, and two weeks a year. But, that one week­end spent work­ing meant I had a 12 day work week. By the time day 10, 11, and 12 came around, I was short-tem­pered and eas­i­ly angered. Which, if you know me, seems out of char­ac­ter for my open, friend­ly, easy-going per­son­al­i­ty. I saw the same shift occur with my room­mate, as he was also in the same unit with me.

Clean­ing out pet­ri­fied soda for a recy­cling project

A com­mon trope of the Mil­len­ni­al gen­er­a­tion is that we’re lazy. I had a fan­tas­tic dis­cus­sion about it with Joshua Sheats of Rad­i­cal Per­son­al Finance when we record­ed our pod­cast episode dur­ing Camp Mus­tache. He asked why I was going for FI. I told him it was because I didn’t want to work. When pressed as to why I didn’t want to work, I said it was because I was lazy.

This led to a tan­gen­tial dis­cus­sion on if I was actu­al­ly lazy. I said I was because I like to take naps, not cook meals, and do things like read a book for hours at a time.

Joshua then point­ed out that I wasn’t actu­al­ly lazy. He cit­ed things like being active in at least one sport pret­ty much all the time since I was 10, being active in the Girl Scouts (and get­ting my Gold Award), putting in the work to get good grades that led to my full-ride schol­ar­ship to col­lege and then keep­ing said schol­ar­ship for all 4 years, join­ing the mil­i­tary (where I won sev­er­al awards for being an out­stand­ing Air­man), work­ing my butt off at my intern­ship to get into the com­pa­ny with a full-time offer before I grad­u­at­ed col­lege, and all the work asso­ci­at­ed with going for Finan­cial Inde­pen­dence (fig­ur­ing out finances, blog­ging, start­ing the process for buy­ing a rental, etc).

Clear­ly I’m not afraid of hard work and long hours. So why do I think I’m lazy?

Because my par­ents said I was for the bet­ter part of 20 years. They didn’t like I was doing things for myself and not doing stuff around the house for them. (This became such a heat­ed issue that they kicked me out of the house at age 18, 42 days before I left for col­lege.)

It’s so ingrained in me, though, that I didn’t even real­ize it was my par­ents’ voic­es in my head until that con­ver­sa­tion.

Self-care is a crit­i­cal part of being human. We weren’t meant to go, and go, and go with no down time.

I think it’s even more impor­tant now with the shift­ing polit­i­cal envi­ron­ment we in the Unit­ed States are fac­ing. If I tried to be a good employ­ee, sis­ter, daugh­ter, friend, and blog­ger AND care about every­thing else going on in the world with no break, I’d explode. For real.

So I turn off my com­put­er, only play games on my phone, and stu­dious­ly ignore the out­side world to give my brain a chance to process every­thing.

Self-care is so impor­tant to me I made it a point to add it to my goals for 2017. It’s even in the title: A Year of Car­ing. So far, I’ve yet to sched­ule a mas­sage or chi­ro­prac­tic appoint­ment, but with the news from Wash­ing­ton this last week, I will need both.

But I’m not just car­ing only about me. I’m car­ing more about oth­ers as well. I urge you to do the same — not just for your inner cir­cle of fam­i­ly and friends. Do some­thing nice for a com­plete stranger. Stand up for the mar­gin­al­ized (and often maligned) groups in your world. Reach out to some­one you haven’t talked to in a while.

We’re going to need to care for each oth­er more than ever, and we can’t do that as effec­tive­ly if we’re tired, stressed out, and burnt out.

How do you relax? Do you wor­ry about being lazy?

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20 thoughts on “Motivated Laziness

  1. Fun­ny how the neg­a­tive labels oth­ers give us stick to the brain more­so than the pos­i­tive ones. You’ve done a lot for your­self in the amount of years you’ve been on this earth. Hav­ing two teens in our house I can under­stand from your par­ents per­spec­tive that see­ing you relax prob­a­bly just made them crazy because they couldn’t do it them­selves. The 16 year old in our house sounds very sim­i­lar to you and your teenage self!! I won­der why he isn’t out doing things or get­ting a job with all that free time…then I real­ize that life hasn’t hit him yet. Respon­si­bil­i­ties aren’t detri­men­tal to his exis­tence because food/shelter/water have all been gra­cious­ly pro­vid­ed. Kick­ing him out? Not like­ly. He’s a kid — you were a kid, and that’s what kids do!! Your par­ents reac­tion seems a bit harsh but they did some­thing good in the end — they made you a sur­vivor.

    That lazy label hasn’t kept you from suc­ceed­ing in your life and no doubt won’t hold you back from your FI goals. Keep kick­ing ass, girl!! And take all the time you need to recharge!!
    Miss Mazu­ma recent­ly post­ed…I’m Offi­cial­ly Famous For Being In DebtMy Profile

  2. I can’t get over the floof that is Mew. 🙂

    But so much yes to this. It’s easy to believe that you have neg­a­tive char­ac­ter­is­tics when peo­ple keep clas­si­fy­ing you with neg­a­tive terms. I admit I had (and still have) straight-up lazy moments. But as a kid I was so damn busy all the time with school and extracur­ric­u­lars that, by the time I came home, I was ABSOLUTELY exhaust­ed. But the expec­ta­tions were still there to be per­fect­ly hap­py and a lit­tle work­er bee.

    I still shame myself some days for tak­ing time to veg out. It’s been *so* chal­leng­ing for the past six months, since I start­ed a new med­ica­tion that makes me unbear­ably tired. I’m nor­mal­ly a very anx­ious and active per­son, and it’s hard know­ing how to func­tion with less ener­gy.

    Lack­ing self-care can harm you finan­cial­ly, too. On days when I need a break, I’m more like­ly to shop online or want to buy things. It makes the pain tem­porar­i­ly fade away, but makes me poor­er!

    Every­body needs days where they don’t do a damn thing. 🙂
    Mrs. Picky Pinch­er recent­ly post­ed…What A Fru­gal Week­end!My Profile

  3. Rest is so chal­leng­ing for me because there is ALWAYS more to do. But if I try to go 24–7 I hit a wall, usu­al­ly at the lest con­ve­nient time. So I have to plan for down­time and work hard to pro­tect it. We always have a lot of plates in the air: 5 lit­tle kids, rentals, reno, blog­ging, free­lance writ­ing, free­lance work, vol­un­teer­ing, col­lege class­es, and on and on. Plus I’m a strong intro­vert, liv­ing with 6 oth­er chat­ty humans. =)

    And then I get com­ments about “Oh, you must have so much free time… beings you don’t “work”. Um…yeah…
    Ms. Mon­tana recent­ly post­ed…Tastes like free­domMy Profile

    • You know, most of my retired friends say they’re busier than ever in retire­ment! I can cer­tain­ly see how even just the 5 lit­tle ones would be more than enough to jug­gle.

    • Lit­er­al­ly just the tip of the ice­berg con­cern­ing my par­ents. But, I have worked hard to throw off their influ­ences in a num­ber of areas so I do my best to not lean on a bad upbring­ing as an excuse.

  4. I’m so hap­py to hear you took a day to just relax and recoup, Gwen. Though I don’t remem­ber my par­ents say­ing any­thing to me about being lazy — I often feel guilty when I’m not pro­duc­tive. But, I hit a wall a cou­ple of weeks ago. And I napped and read and watched a movie. For two days. And it was heav­en! I decid­ed I need to let go of the guilt and enjoy that lit­tle slice of heav­en more often.

    I have teenagers and I hope I’ve nev­er con­veyed to them that they are lazy (sor­ry to hear your par­ents did that to you). They do lounge, but I’ve real­ized they also learn and grow, even when it appears they are doing “noth­ing”.

  5. You young whip­per-snap­pers! When I was grow­ing up… blah, blah, blah.

    And gaug­ing by my kids they real­ly hear blah, blah, blah.

    Remem­ber, even God took one a week for R&R. And if it is good enough for her, it is good enough for me.

    Final­ly, con­sid­er your relax­ing day as prac­tice for ear­ly retire­ment. The world would be a dan­ger­ous place if every­one was as wired as I am.

  6. I love all of this.

    But I’m not just car­ing only about me. I’m car­ing more about oth­ers as well. I urge you to do the same – not just for your inner cir­cle of fam­i­ly and friends. Do some­thing nice for a com­plete stranger. Stand up for the mar­gin­al­ized (and often maligned) groups in your world. Reach out to some­one you haven’t talked to in a while.

    We’re going to need to care for each oth­er more than ever, and we can’t do that as effec­tive­ly if we’re tired, stressed out, and burnt out.”

    This is my con­cern right now. Liv­ing in DC, it seems like there is a new protest every oth­er day and that doesn’t appear like­ly to stop any time soon. I want to par­tic­i­pate as much as I can and show my sup­port and help oth­ers, but I also feel like I am over­load­ing myself right now. I haven’t quite fig­ured out how to find a bal­ance at this point, but I know that it is a prob­lem that I need to work on.

    • I read some­where today we’re more effec­tive oper­at­ing in shifts of 100 at any giv­en time rather than hav­ing a flash­mob of 1000 that fiz­zles out quick­ly. Take some time to rest, but also par­tic­i­pate when you can. I’m afraid this will be the new nor­mal…

  7. Your par­ents must real­ly be some­thing!! You got a full ride to col­lege because you received good grades, but they thought you were lazy??! Doesn’t make sense.

    I’m very excit­ed to hear how search­ing for your first rental goes. I just fin­ished the book: Build­ing Wealth One House At a Time. I’ve been think­ing about tak­ing the plunge myself.

  8. I had a real­iza­tion some­time ago why I began declut­ter­ing and approach a min­i­mal­ist / MMM type lifestyle. It’s because I am lazy when it comes to clean­ing and search­ing for some­thing in a pile of “stuff” every­where. I can con­fi­dent­ly find some­thing when I need it with extreme ease and not waste time. It took some ini­tial work to get to my cur­rent state of an opti­mized lifestyle but I sure as hell can be lazy often now with­out need­ing to wor­ry about chores since much of it is self-main­tained. In short, I like being orga­nized so I can be “lazy” lat­er on!

  9. I have a hard time with relax­ing- it seems like by the time Sat­ur­day comes around all I want to do is lie around under my cosy duvet and read. And eat. The project that seemed so fun on Tues­day at 11am just seems like more work on Sat­ur­day.

  10. Am I the only one that caught on to Mew being named after the Poke­mon? Badass.

    I’m almost in an iden­ti­cal boat with you finan­cial­ly speak­ing, though I’m 28, so I’m look­ing for­ward to how Gwen accom­plish­es her goal by 2017! Maybe I can copy and steal like an artist…

    We shall see!

    • I’m pret­ty sure I men­tioned that’s one of the inspi­ra­tions behind his name.… he’s named after the poke­mon, the sound he made as a kit­ten, and after one of the first pirate lords from PotC.

  11. I’ve asso­ci­at­ed with the lazy label for sev­er­al years. I feel like most peo­ple in this FIRE space have all this stuff they’d rather be doing oth­er than work­ing, and that’s their main dri­ve to retire. I just don’t want to work if I don’t have to work. Because that’s unnec­es­sary effort. Because I am in fact lazy. But then there’s the ethical/moral conun­drum: Why should soci­ety per­mit me not to work when peo­ple who are in less for­tu­nate finan­cial posi­tions don’t even have the choice? My take on you is that you’d rather be a land­lord, a writer, and a stained glass artist than what­ev­er it is your employ­er pays you to. I actu­al­ly enjoyed my job, it just didn’t give me the free­dom to do extend­ed trav­el.

    I guess I’m still look­ing for that big pic­ture answer of what I want to do with my life. Obvi­ous­ly, slow trav­el is a near term goal that I hope to get much joy out of, and hope­ful­ly some peo­ple can get some­thing out of me writ­ing about it, but that’s not some­thing that I want to do for­ev­er. I’ve start­ed to think more about poten­tial sec­ond careers that might make me feel more ful­filled in life…which to me sounds a lot more grat­i­fy­ing than grind­ing it out to build up my nest egg as quick­ly as pos­si­ble, retir­ing ear­ly, and prob­a­bly becom­ing a lazy oaf. I think CMSE was an expe­ri­ence for me that remind­ed me that I’m not an entre­pre­neur and don’t par­tic­u­lar­ly want to be. I just need to find my career niche that feels more like fun and less like work.

    I do some­times wor­ry if fis­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty has been a curse with my inher­ent lazi­ness. It’s pret­ty bad when you look at condo’s that you could pay in cash and then won­der if you could cash flow the rest of your life off the remain­ing nest egg if you lived a super sim­ple life with­out trav­el etc

    I think I have the oppo­site prob­lem from what you have — my own voice is telling me that I’m lazy, where­as my par­ents are the ones say­ing “what are you talk­ing about?, you accom­plished ____ at work, you’ve done ____ with your finances.” blablabla.

    I guess life would be bor­ing if we were all exact­ly the same. 🙂
    TJ recent­ly post­ed…Jan­u­ary 2017 Finan­cial RecapMy Profile

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