The Hustle

Confession. I’m starting to resent American culture, like, a lot.

No, I’m not claiming any other part of the world gets it all right or that all of my problems would be fixed elsewhere. But I am starting to learn (the process began a year ago) that the hustling and rushing and toiling just isn’t sustainable.

Here’s how it has been lately:

I don’t have a full time job. (Haven’t in quite awhile). To compensate, I say yes to EVERYTHING. I’m volunteering all over the place, never turning down babysitting gigs even if I am completely run down, offering to help anywhere I see a need…And yet I still feel need to laugh at myself for being the one with “no life” when I’m surrounded by my friends who have successful careers. This isn’t healthy, but it is a pattern I’ve seen since the week I left my last full-time job.

One of my favorite authors Shauna Niequist has phrase that’s kind of become her motto. “More love, less hustle.” The first time I heard it, I thought, “Duh. Love is good, stress is bad…What else ya got, lady?” But more and more I see myself kneeling at the altar of business and filled time slots. It isn’t for the sake of those I’m “helping” or even for the sake of broader career goals. Its all just a feeble attempt to scrape together little bits of self-worth scattered around in various activities that never amount to much.

So clearly, America is not the problem. But I do think we glorify some unattainable, unfulfilling idea of how life should shake out. I think this idea of “having it all” leaves us with nothing of actual value. I think saying no to more and giving more of myself to few would be a win at this point. And it isn’t all about taking better care of myself, its about taking better care of the people God has actually called me to.

I hope one day I can take pride in a life that is not like the typical middle class American one tends to look. One that doesn’t feel frantic or out of control. Why I feel the need to apologize for the rare rest I get now, heaven only knows.

I’m one of those, what you’d call, works in progress.


3 thoughts on “The Hustle

  1. mondoandpeach says:

    sigh. I understand these feelings. I’m learning a bit about this while living abroad, and am quite curious to what this will become once I’m back in the states. I once read a book that outlined the schedule of some great saint…I feel like maybe it was the Confessions of St. Augustine. But it showed the slow pace and funneled efforts of this person that did such big things. Lots of alone time, time to study the scriptures, time for helping the poor and time for community. Also, a website that I absolutely love is I think the minimalist way of life is the path that brings me a lot closer to the lifestyle I enjoy. Minimalist not only in the things I own, but where I spent my time and money. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Caroline says:

      Thanks for that link, I am really enjoying clicking through the posts. So glad blogs like that exist. Working through balance is such a process and I feel like it all resurfaces every time there’s any change in circumstances, jobs, city, etc. I imagine life in South America to be less rushed and frantic, but I’m probably just exaggerating the good things about life abroad to make myself feel better 🙂

      • mondoandpeach says:

        haha. Overall, it is less rushed- but I still find myself with the same tendencies! Lunch dates and art class and volunteering and cooking for a friend, etc…I can fill up my schedule really well. Even though there isn’t the outside pressure as much as in the states (from society), it’s rooted deep within me to want to feel productive with my time. So, it’s the same battle.

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