Freelance Journalist, Editor, Copywriter and Author – Dubai

Life’s Pause Button

Me, enjoying life’s ‘pause’ button in Paphos

I always used to say that I wished life had a ‘pause’ button. Wouldn’t it be great, I’d exclaim, to be able to opt out whenever the roller coaster ride became too much, and you felt like getting off so that you could take a deep breath and vomit profusely.

And I wasn’t talking about the two-week holiday we all grant ourselves once a year, because, let’s face it, we always come back feeling more exhausted than we were before we left. I was talking about taking a good chunk of time off to do nothing other than drink beer and stare into space, while our bills are being miraculously paid by fairies.

The merry-go-round of life

When I was working full time and commuting to Abu Dhabi every day, I felt like the life was being sucked out of me. During the week, I had next to no time to do anything I enjoyed doing (you know, like, googling topless men and cooking very spicy Mexican food. That sort of thing), and by the weekend I had about as much energy as a headless mop. I had no time to slow down and enjoy life. I had no time to just ‘be.’

I quit my job and left Dubai about six weeks ago to go and travel the world, write a book and just have fun. I broke free from the shackles of capitalism and it feels damn great. I’m currently in Cyprus visiting family and in about a week or so I’ll be in England to see the rest of the clan. Overall, I go to bed whenever I feel like it, I wake up when I want to, and I have all the time in the world to do whatever I please.

I guess I have finally found the ‘pause’ button that I so craved.

The only problem that I’m finding with the pause button, however, is that you fall out of touch with what’s going on around you. You no longer need to know what day of the week it is, so invariably you lose all concept of time. And so, all of a sudden, despite the fact you have all the time in the world, you do nothing of use with it. There’s no urgency for anything to be done, so why bother? So unfortunately I’m finding that I’m doing less and less by the day.

Being a writer is a full-time job

I guess I’m a little harsh on myself; a friend of mine pointed out to me last night that I’ve done a lot considering that this is supposed to be a ‘time out.’ I’m still freelancing and I write about two articles every week, but the problem with being a writer is that you always feel like you’re supposed to be working. No matter how much you write, you just don’t feel like it’s enough, and I really don’t think I’ve written as much as I could have, seeing as I don’t have much to do.

I started to wonder whether I’m just lazy, but I really don’t think that is the case. I used to freelance as well as work full time because I wanted to keep on furthering my journalism career. This entailed a lot of work in the evenings and during weekends. Nah, it’s not laziness. Although I do admit that I have a penchant for my snooze button.

However, I find myself doing next to nothing these days. My pause button feels like a stop button. I know I have an amazing adventure ahead, yet it feels like I’m being held against my will in some sort of holding area, where I’m forced to stare at four blank walls and rock myself back and forth in order to stay entertained.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve enjoyed the pause. I’ve enjoyed spending hours on end just sitting with my mum and talking about nothing in particular. I’ve enjoyed watching my grandma cook without having to worry about doing something more important, like laundry. I’ve enjoyed writing for the sake of writing and not having to think too much about money.  I’ve enjoyed sitting on the balcony, having a beer, while watching the stars fall and getting all Artistotle on shit.

But there comes a point when the pause is no longer inspirational. I’m having difficulty thinking of fun things to write for this blog, hence this highly self-indulgent post that most of you probably won’t even read. I sit with the intention of starting work on my book, yet I feel nothing. And unfortunately I’m one of those writers who needs to be feeling extreme emotions, whether they be good or bad, in order to write something of worth.

Time to rejoin the madness?

Yes, life can get hectic. Yes, life can be a bitch. Yes, life can be a roller coaster. But I’m starting to realise that the pause button has a shelf life, and in my case it’s about six weeks. Beyond that, limitless time is no longer a gift, and you’re begging to be let back on the ride, just to be able to ‘feel’ something, if nothing else.

Luckily, my world travels start soon and I know once I hit the road, things will be different. I’m going to be so overwhelmed by extreme emotions that I’m sure there will come a point when I will be craving these glorious days when time doesn’t matter and I can spend the whole day in my pants, should I wish to.

But, for now, I’m ready to get back on the damn roller coaster. If only it would bloody slow down so that I can jump on…

  • Elias

    Really it is very nice article. I think all of us need Pause Button in some chapters of our life. you remind me of the poem i still remember:
    What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.
    No time to stand beneath the boughs
    And stare as long as sheep or cows.
    No time to see, when woods we pass,
    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
    No time to see, in broad daylight,
    Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
    No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
    And watch her feet, how they can dance.
    No time to wait till her mouth can
    Enrich that smile her eyes began.
    A poor life this if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.

    • admin

      I love that poem, too, Elias! 🙂

      I agree – I think we should all be able to ‘pause’ once a year (at the very least)! I’ve really enjoyed doing nothing. And it’s during these times that you really have the time to think of what you want from life.

  • ”this highly self-indulgent post that most of you probably won’t even read.”

    Oh yes, we did read it and enjoyed it, remembering what we are denying for the most part of our lives – that these moments when we are just ”being”, talking to mum, or watching grandma cook are not boring or insignificant but probably the most precious moments of our lives…

    Anyway, how busy do we think we must be ALL the time to feel that our life has a meaning? Successful, important people are probably not supposed to say they enjoy doing ”nothing” or forget what the day of the week it is? I think it feels wonderful:) Am also starting to think that to ”hit pause” one has to be strong, confident, awesome person and not the weak, lazy one who could not take the pressure or responsibility.

    The pause can put enormous pressure on us and feel uncomfortable, as there is time to see things we normally overlook being exhausted from 12 hours at work, not to mention travelling to and from the office. Suddenly there is time to feel guilty because we are enjoying life for a change?

    PS: Your pause sounds like a bliss, a luxury that most can only dream about, don’t hurry to stop it:) The world will wait for you.

    • admin

      Hi 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and offering a different perspective! You’re right; we’ve all been brainwashed into believing that we need to be busy all the time in order to lead fulfilling lives. I guess when you’ve been living that way for so long, it’s hard to feel comfortable with doing completely nothing!

      But you’re right – I should try to enjoy it for a little while longer 🙂

      • You are welcome, best wishes and looking forward to read your posts in future.

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