Its easy to lose track of the importance of living. Playing is a huge part of that experience and instead of leading with work, leading with play enables a calmness and ability to reset making work an enjoyable experience. It is typical to do it in reserve; start with work and once it is finished you should reward with play. Sadly, the weight of the American Dream is an exhausting, all-consuming experience which requires endless energy leaving very little time and opportunity for little else except rest. But the reality is that the more play you integrate with your life, the less exhausting the work will be.
Play: Engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.
Work: Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
Everyday I wake up to the sound of my daughters little pitter patter as she climbs into bed with me. I snuggle and play with her for about 15 minutes before we even think about getting out of bed. I call it our “cuddle time” and it some how creates a leveling in my brain. For me it doesn’t have to be a significant amount of time of play before getting down to brass tacks, but it needs to be foundational. With Iza in my arms I get lost in the moment and forget any responsibility we have other than our time together and it creates a clarity I wouldn’t have otherwise. When the alarm goes off and we know it is time to get breakfast and get ready for school and I start my work, it feels like I have already been rewarded. I work extra hard throughout the day because I am so grateful for the 15 uninterrupted minutes with my little girl.
As a new parent, I now know why half of America is overweight, on anti-depressants, watches 3 hours of TV a night and our test scores in schools are getting lower and lower. We are tired. We are overrun and exhausted by the demands of the American Dream. I am new to this world – having a baby, while working full time – and it is hard. Much harder than I imagined it would be. I give snaps to all the parents out there that have done what we tried to do and failed at.
We as a nation have been sold on a dream that is unattainable and unrealistic to most.
Let’s start with sleep. Sleep is the #1 fuel to your engine. It makes your cognitive thinking clear, capable of making better decisions, able to be more relaxed and regulates your hormones, your metabolism and your heart. It keeps you afloat. As Americans have increased their operating hours, we have lowered our potential for hours available to sleep and increased our potential for exhaustion. This has created a number of issues which the rest of the world is beginning to face as well.
Next up is diet. Without a healthy, nutritious and rounded diet, we can’t function. Our bodies go into overdrive and have to work extra hard to function causing a host of other physical ailments.
Exercise comes into play next. We can’t sustain any of the above without it, but when do we have that extra 1-hour available to go running?
And then it’s all the other stuff. Somewhere in there we go to work, play with our kids, door our chores, catch up with friends and family, and relax.
We try to mask each need with more coffee, drugs and a host of other stimulants in order to fulfill our ever expanding list to do. Debt starts to pile up, and just when we start to break even, a new car is needed, the water heater just broke, you need to save for the kids need to go to College, etc. It always seems like the more you get, the more you want. It is engrained in our DNA and spawned from centuries of oppression and classism.
It seems like a vicious cycle; one where you can never get ahead or accomplish anything.
As far as we are concerned, the road to the American Dream is shaped into a half pipe and anyone can just jump on and slide through life. There it is an endless cycle of: 1. you want more, 2. you spend more, 3. you need more money, 4. you work more, and then back to the start of the wheel. It felt like if we didn’t move to the suburbs to a good school system, put Iza in childcare and get full time jobs, we would be unable to attain a ‘purposeful life,’ by everyone’s standards.
Kurt and I felt like we were unconsciously heading down this path on the half-pipe of expectations, and saw all our opportunities for our talents slipping away. The most important thing for artists is uninhibited time. As a result, we gravitated waaaaaay “outside the box.” We decided we wanted to try to make a go of something different; to not be so tired, to eat healthier, to enjoy our natural environment each day and get our heart pumping, to play, and ultimately to live.
So, we have ended up here instead (here = Guatemala), because we truthfully couldn’t figure out how to do this in the States.
In the last 5-months we have grown beyond our wildest expectations in purpose and experience. We have honed in on potential ways to make a go of it long-term and really started developing a routine which is life-based, waving goodbye (partially) to our work-based life. The only constant routine of the Brand’s is evolution, but we feel we really have have now defined what we want out of each day and have started to formulate Our Dream.
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