That’s The Way Things Are

Free Your Mind

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Washington D.C. is probably my favorite city in the country.

Behind Manhattan, that is, of course…

My girlfriend and I headed to D.C. last weekend to visit some of her college friends and get away for a couple of days. We hung out with her friends, went to a museum (the Newseum, to be exact, since I’m a big geek like that), went out to eat, went out for drinks, and just had a good time.

Which in a sense, is a challenging feat for me…

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the time I have to relax when I have it. It’s just difficult for me to let go of work to fully let go. I know that holds true for so many other people, as well.

We’re living in a unique time; not only are we — as a society and as a global community — in the midst of a technological and digital revolution and transition period, but it’s occurring during the worst economy and job market in almost one hundred years. Times haven’t been this hard since the nation was crippled by The Great Depression.

That creates an interesting, and at times, certainly unfortunate yield. Because of the challenging job market and economy, people are under even more pressure to perform at work and even excel, but without promotions or raises. After all, no one wants it to go the other way and be the one to get the axe if layoffs become necessary.

This, all the while, during a digital revolution, where to keep up with the newest technologies — ranging from something as simple as cable television (rather than a digital converter box for basic broadcast channels) to something a bit more intricate like a data package for an iPhone — incurs a monthly cost. Don’t pay it and you’ll fall behind the curve and get left behind. Not to mention that the technology that we all have at our fingertips also keeps us much more connected to our jobs, and our jobs much more connected to us.

That’s by no means the only rationale for why so many of us can’t let go of our work obsession, though. We get so attached to, and invested in, our jobs and careers, as we well should, that it’s hard to stop thinking about them and attending to them at times.

We try to deal with little things that pop up during supposed non-office hours, think about work matters while we’re at events of whatever sort in our personal lives. And unfortunately, sometimes that’s just what’s necessary.

The weekend in D.C., however, was a rare period of time where I (almost) completely let go, and didn’t think (too much really) about work matters, and just enjoyed myself and had a nice time. I wish I could do that more often, the stress certainly isn’t good for any of us…

Stress is unhealthy, of course, and we’d better not allow ourselves to get sucked into the trap of not ever being able to separate from our work. In the crazy, challenging and, at times, certainly difficult world we live in, we should make every effort to take a step back and forget about work, ignore our work e-mails and just enjoy our family, friends, and loved ones, and our lives, as much as we can.

“Try to be happy in this present moment, and put not off being so to a time to come,—as though that time should be of another make from this which has already come and is ours.” -- Thomas Fuller

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Mitchell Hart Cooper, Mitch Cooper, Mitchell Cooper, job, work, technology, digital, digital revolution, economy, job market, The Great Depression