I spent my weekend at the New York City Poetry Festival and had two dear friends come in from out of town table there with me. Another dear local friend joined us on Governors Island just between Brooklyn and Manhattan as well. While I could talk for a novella about this wonderful event, I want to talk more about these close relationships and some realizations I’ve made about my own health, productivity, and the kinds of people I look to have in my life.
I like to surround myself with people chasing something — in a healthy way.
I used to surround myself with hustlers swimming in a deep swamp of burnout. I have been that person for a very long time, but I’m trying to change. I like to spend time with people who have drive like I do, who have that desire to do something more than just watch Netflix every day. But while ambition is something I value, I’m really seeing the importance of chasing after something in a way that doesn’t sacrifice physical or mental health.
It’s really hard to build something in a way that could be called “healthy.” It’s a very broad word, but to me, it means building or creating something without running yourself completely ragged in the process. For example, I’m working on my debut poetry collection. I started it about seven months ago. I could finish it faster, but I’m trying to maintain good habits while I work on this project. In the past, since I’ve been juggling a full-time day job and grad school for some time now, I would cut back on sleep or never let myself relax in order to make progress on creative projects.
But the reality is that I do better work when I’m well-rested.
This is rather hilarious since my very screen name here on Medium is SleeplessAuthor and I use SleeplessAuthoress on other platforms like Instagram and TikTok. I am walking proof of how I used to idolize hustle culture and pushed it to the extreme — to the point that I made it part of my identity as a writer. But here at 29, gazing…