Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Create and Consume

Happiness in life is a balance between creation and consumption.

At times, we consume, and at times, we create. We're industrious creatures, and with just a little consumption, we're fueled for considerable creation.

By "consume," I mean:
- eating food,
- listening to music,
- watching movies or TV, etc.

Whereas by "create," I mean:
- cooking food,
- playing music,
- writing,
- painting,
- working,
- serving, etc.

I intend the meanings to be broader than the traditional definitions for "consume" and "create."

Our respite from creation is consumption. (i.e. All work and no play ...) The less-thought-about respite from consumption is creation. (i.e. There is no rest without something to rest from.) Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to have a balance between the two.

During my two weeks of vacation, I haven't been able to convince myself to go to bed at a reasonable hour. In that extra time, I've consumed plenty of entertainment (yay for and!), and plenty of food (yay for chips and salsa!). In fact, I've had a little too much of both. And sleeping less hasn't helped at all.

When I'm finished with the day, my mind is often still racing, and I'm tired of being awake and doing things. I'm ready for a break. When I wake up, I'm refreshed and ready to take on the very things I was tired of the night before. When I'm depriving myself of sleep, I don't get that refresher. If I've been over-working (over-creating), then I wake up without being completely ready to start up again. Likewise with over-indulging (over-consuming).

In those situations, I can't find happiness in my work, or even satisfaction in my play. I need to have meaningful work in order to find joy in relaxation, and I need to have meaningful R&R to consistently find joy in work. (It doesn't hurt to have a job I love.) PwC's HR department talks a lot about work-life balance. But parts of life can be so stressful that I don't think that's necessarily a recipe for success; I think it's the create-consume balance.


I chose the term "consume" for a reason. We all know what it feels like to eat too much. You know you can't eat again for a while, because your body simply can't take it. Well, I think we react the same way to over-stimulation of most (if not all) other sorts. Over vacation, I got bloated on streaming TV shows. I can't take any more right now. I need to recharge by working.

Good thing it's busy season.

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