It’s not that I’ve forgotten how to self-care, it’s that I’ve actively dismantled my ability for it, not just for days, weeks, or months, but years. There was a moment during high school where I went, “if I’m only worth my ability to work, then to hell with how I feel about it.” I became not only a hard worker, but an obsessive, relentless worker that forgot about vacations and most concepts of working hours. If it had to be done, I’d be the one to do it.
This was fine for a while. When you’re young and alone, you can push like that until things are “done enough” for the day. You can go home, eat, and forget about work for a few hours.
Now work follows me. My work is wherever I open my laptop. Work isn’t only what pays, but side projects, things I started without thinking, any passing idea that has gained traction. You find yourself not just working “a couple extra hours”, but every moment you’re not sick, exhausted, or otherwise engaged. Work is the default of your time. Free time for the week is counted on the fingers of one hand.
And the world rewards you for it.
It rewards you for not just burning your candle at both ends, but slicing it down the middle and setting the entire, exposed wick ablaze.
The problem is, what happens to the empty wax left behind?