Monday, November 28, 2011
I recently sent in the first draft of my latest thriller, Placebo, and as I was mentally regrouping, I was reminded again of the rhythms of life—the seasons of stress and recreation, of the long nights sitting at the keyboard contrasting with the warm afternoons strolling through the forest. It struck me that without the two extremes, something seems to be missing in my life.
If I don’t work hard I lose direction.
If I don’t play I lose perspective.
Right before Thanksgiving when I was flying home from a meeting at my publisher’s, I sat beside a man who’d recently retired. He told me that for the first year he liked it, but then he got bored. “You can only play so many rounds of golf,” he told me.
We have deadlines, workloads, quotas, and we have Sunday afternoon naps, milkshake dates and family Uno nights. People who never take a break are just as annoying to be with as those who never take anything seriously. We have to live in this paradox or responsibility and relaxation, because when we slip into one extreme or the other—too much work or too much free time—we seem to become less human in the ways that matter most.
So, here’s to the coffee breaks.
And here’s to the reason we take them.