miscellanyJosh Harvey

Balance, Boredom, and Wanting to Please

miscellanyJosh Harvey
Balance, Boredom, and Wanting to Please

A few weeks ago, I looked at the five pies I'd baked for a get together. I then looked at the upcoming weeks. My sister's wedding, covering two shifts at work, an annual weekend of volunteering, and I quickly decided to hit "pause" on Year of Pie. A pie a week for a year is, honestly, an arbitrary goal, and, as it's a personal project, hitting pause truly affects only a few people—me, my partner… and my co-workers who'll be deprived of pie.

It’s a deliberate pause, with a restart date to give myself a timeline for restarting. It's a pause to let myself focus are real life todos. I've been thinking about what this project would've been like pre-internet and pre-social media. I would've done it, shared it with a few people, kept my notes to myself. It wouldn't have intruded as much, and I wouldn't have felt the pressure to take nice photos, attempt a write-up, and do some basic marketing for it.

The pressure to perform has shaped Year of Pie, and not necessarily in a bad way. I've pushed myself to do well, refine posts and processes, to understand what I'm doing. But it's also led to some feeling of burnout and pressure to please anonymous people, like you reading this. Racking up likes and karma delivers an addicting little jolt.

In the couple of weeks I've spent away, I've noticed myself getting bored. Like Manoush Zamarodi describes in Bored and Brilliant, it's an uncomfortable feeling. I reach for my phone. I reach for my todo list. A part of my brain realizes what it is though, and when I've let myself get bored, ideas come. If a rechargable battery could share what it feels like to go from 25% to 100%, this is what I imagine they'd describe. My brain feels like it's slowly being topped off. Snippets and broad strokes of ideas pop in at random times. It's like tapering for a race—your legs have an itch, and the few runs you put down feel gooooood.

Do I have conclusions? Radical ideas for refiguring my life? Promises of "This One Little Trick" to change your life? No. Nothing that life altering. Some ideas to refocus what I'd imagined this project to be. Some limits to put on promotion and interaction. Some constraints. That might be the biggest revelation. Constraint is good. Overextending yourself leads to doing a everything half-assed. Constrain, set boundaries, accept that rest is the most important part of life.