Stopping for a moment…or a year

There was a time when you couldn’t start something with ‘There’s a TED talk’ and expect anyone to understand what you were on about. I’m not sure it was that long ago, actually.

Anyway, there’s a TED talk I wanted to share today. But wait, I have to wind back a bit first for two reasons.

One is the background. I’ve now come down after the marathon. And I feel like these sandals – worn out, a bit broken and a bit fragile.

Worn out sandal

I’m on a recovery plan for a couple of weeks – a few 20 to 30 minute runs at a pace which feels like I’m walking rather than running. One of the most common questions I get is why in training we don’t run the full marathon distance. The answer is that race pace and distance does temporary damage to your body. It’s fine, we recover, but we need to give it time. The next event is rarely less than a few months away, and we can lose some of the sharpness for a bit. The secret is that we will come back stronger if we acknowledge our body’s need to heal, to rest for a while.

And the second reason is because Camille said something a long time before this TED talk came out. Years ago, she wondered why we don’t reverse the process of learn, work, retire, and spend some of the ‘retire’ time earlier in our lives, for example when our children are younger. I think the question is still out there.

So, back to that TED talk. Here it is – Stefan Sagmeister on ‘The Power of Time Off’.

Sagmeister runs a design studio in New York City, and every seven years, he closes it for a year to recuperate and get new ideas. He sees it as taking five years of later retirement and interspersing them into the earlier working years.

But of course, he comes back from his year’s sabbatical with renewed energy and ideas.

Yeah yeah, fine for him I hear you say. Loads of money, typical artsy guy who has to be just that bit different.

So maybe we can’t take a year off – although this family did (and came back to the ‘real world’ with no income and all the usual bills). And perhaps that last sentence should instead read ‘So maybe we believe we can’t take a year off.’

But how do we spend ‘recreation’ time (more of an American than British word, I suspect, but I need it for the next bit) – for re-creation, or for something that just fills in time? Sagmeister’s sabbatical is for re-recreation in its truest sense. It might not be a year for most of us, but is there really not a little time we could choose to use to re-create ourselves and return stronger?

I’m enjoying my two weeks of virtual no-running. Did I mention that I’m allowed to eat and drink whatever I feel like in those two weeks as well? This is fun. And I’m finding time to read more, which is always a good thing. Right now, I’m going to go off into Anthony Horowitz’s world of Sherlock Holmes in ‘Moriarty’, a book I’ve wanted to read since seeing him at a book event months ago.

I’m still stuck on that sabbatical idea though. That might be long enough to get through the stacks of books that remain stubbornly unread.

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