Friday, April 4, 2014

Happy Laurel Resting

I was hanging out with old friends this weekend, including the Goldfish Poodle, and we were talking about our jobs, and lives, and goals, and at some point - someone candidly admitted that they just "didn't have much of a work ethic right now."

To which I immediately jumped in with a "Right? I want to rest on my laurels. Laurel resting. That’s what I want."

My friend Gina had never heard the expression, so she asked what a laurel was. "Like the Laurel tree?"

Me and Goldfish Poodle: "No! That's stupid."
Him: "..It's like resting on your accomplishments..."
Me: "...It's like resting on your hips...wait. It's accomplishments? I thought it was like - haunches...." *starts gesturing to hip area*

Gina was not convinced. So we looked it up.

And it definitely is related to the Laurel tree. And not at all about haunches.

 laurel wreath is a circular wreath made of interlocking branches and leaves of the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), an aromatic broadleaf evergreen...In common modern idiomatic usage it refers to a victory. The expression "resting on one's laurels" refers to someone relying entirely on long-past successes for continued fame or recognition..." 

Well, in any case, the thought of resting was really what I was going for.

I get overwhelmed sometimes in D.C. because it's always about the next thing. "Great project - how are you going to make it better?"  "Bigger?" "What innovations are you adding next?" "Let's make sure you are stretching this year...."


I'm so sick of stretching. I'm already stretched, people. I'm 73 minutes into a Bikram yoga class, stretched, ok? How about giving me a second to just be. In all my stretchy, flexibleness. How about just maintaining whatever thing it is I've been working on building, and not immediately think about how to improve or change it. How about I stop rolling for two seconds and let myself gather moss. How about some moss-gathering as a goal?

And when I talk about laurel resting, it's not that I think I have all these...laurels. To sit on. I'm not saying I have these major achievements that will keep me "relevant" or " successful" for years to come. I just mean - is it so bad to not have a near-term plan for growth or expansion?

I'm also not saying it's a good idea to just become apathetic and complacent, but how about maintaining the status quo briefly, just to re-energize? And furthermore, how about we stop for a second just to bask in the completion of the last thing?

I read this the other day and it explained my thoughts well:

5 Ways To Make Your Life Something To Look Forward To Again                               "...Our minds will be too busy thinking ahead, moving on to the next task without enjoying the moment we’re living in. Our minds need time to reflect on what is happening and on what just happened. Without reflection, we lose joy and excitement. We enjoy most things after the fact. Don’t take time to enjoy them after the fact and you won’t be as excited for them the next time around. You’re excited for the joy and happiness you experience, not the actual activity." - Elitedaily.com

Exactly. And that's why I just paid good money to voluntarily buy a cap, gown, and hood, and plan to take off a day of work to walk across a stage somewhere in Baltimore next month. To honor the fact that I gave up my social life, and at times my sanity, for two years to complete an advanced degree.

No, it wasn't a graduation requirement, and yes I've already walked across a stage for high school and under grad. And heck, I've never even been to the main campus of my graduate school Johns Hopkins University since I took courses at their satellite campus in D.C. But you know what? This is the only time I'll ever get my first Masters (probably only Masters - DON'T YOU PRESSURE ME INTO ANY OTHER DEGREE, YOU STRETCHY, FORWARD MOTION-OBSESSED WORLD), so that deserves some pomp and circumstance.

Perhaps I'll even make my Out Of Office email message something like: 
"Currently resting on my laurels. Please try to make someone else stretch today."

I suggest you give your laurels a good sitting on today as well. We've all earned it. 


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