Have To vs. Want To
While it’s embarrassing to admit this so late in the game, I had Covid this week. No one really cares anymore, and I too thought it was something that no longer plagued us in any meaningful way. But it’s still here, tipping away just like the rest of us, really.
Anyway, having Covid forced me to take some time off. Usually days off for me consist of pretending not to do work while I proceed to find work to do, but in these few days, I actually did nothing. Instead I read and watched movies, and rested. Rather than ignoring what my body needed and powering through, I stopped. I didn’t cave to the societal-born guilt that I need to constantly be productive. Because it’s not true.
Over the course of these few days I found myself reflecting on why I do the things I do. Why do I write? Or why do I work? Or exercise? Why do I try? I thought about what was motivating my behaviours – am I doing these things because I feel I have to or because I want to? I remember, when I stopped loving basketball, I still played for an additional two seasons. That’s two years of doing something I didn’t want to do because I felt I had to. It was so stitched into my identity that I was afraid to see who I was without it. That’s fucking scary, lads. Nothing external should ever have such a grip on our sense of value.
And basketball is fairly benign. We do this with more destructive things too. Who am I without drinking, without my beliefs? Who am I without my Instagram page? It’s all suffocating, it all has the power to control us.
So as I reflected, I tried to figure out which of my behaviours are externally motivated and which aren’t. Those that are, I will try to engage less with. I’m happier when I do this, even though it’s uncomfortable in the beginning.
Covid isn’t fun, but there are positive elements to everything. This week was full of rest and reflection. It felt like a Big Reset for me. And I treated it as such. A rebooting of the system. It couldn’t come at a better time either, because this week we start an entire new chapter in Barcelona.
I sporadically write a Substack here.