I consider myself to be driven – around the bend most of the time, but nonetheless. I didn’t used to be, until I found something I have a passion for. Now I can’t stop, unless, of course, I’m forced to.

Last week productivity and creativity came to a standstill, and for good reason. I’ll no doubt write more about this at another time, but my lifelong best friend just had emergency surgery to repair a dissecting aortic aneurysm. It is said that the immediate mortality rate in aortic dissection is as high as 1% per hour over the first several hours, so when you combine the time that he hemmed and hawed about seeking help, and the time it took to diagnose and have him air lifted to a facility prepared to handle him, it’s a miracle the man’s alive – literally. And I’m extremely grateful he is.

I flew to Toronto to be with him and help out for a week. During that time nothing else mattered – just my friend. No regrets. I love the guy.

On my return, however, I got a serious case of the shoulds. As lethargic as a kitten with a belly full of milk (you can thank my grandmother for that one), I lay on the couch in my PJs for two full days binging on the latest hits from Netflix and Amazon Prime.


Initially I hated it, because Saturday consisted of self-berating thoughts like: “I should be writing.” “I should be working out.” “I should be researching.” “I should be doing laundry.” “I should be blogging!!” Trust me, the list goes on. <sigh> On Sunday I decided not to give a should anymore.

That’s the problem with being driven. It’s challenging at times to just let go and chill. I can set it all aside when a friend is in need, but I have a problem doing the same when I am. And I was definitely in need – of both physical and emotional rest.

Sometimes we’ve got to give ourselves permission not to give a should. Trying to force productivity when we’re exhausted and vulnerable creates nothing more than frustration and self-doubt.

Letting the sails down and just floating can be the best medicine during stressful times in our lives. Shit’s always going to happen. When it does, find a comfy couch, grab the remote and stop shoulding on yourself.

Pepe 2009