I'm keeping different office hours today, as I’m on the beach. After 16 months of a global pandemic, I’ve taken a much-needed vacation to the sunny shores of Florida. Now, this might not seem like a big deal. Afterall, people go on beach trips all the time, and this one didn’t even require international travel. The thing is, I haven’t taken a “leisure trip” in many years. Sure, I’ve traveled a lot, and that schedule was pretty full, before the world took a break. I just haven’t taken the time to properly relax, to leave home with no obligations and nothing to do, to get lost in myself, in a long time, and to be honest, it feels really good.
Hello my thirsty readers. If there’s one toxic thing society has convinced us to believe, it’s the idea of “the grind.” For those of you who haven’t been indoctrinated, “the grind” is this idea where working yourself to death is some sort of badge of honor. This isn’t a new concept at all, but with the onset of social media and the internet age, we’ve certainly proliferated the idea. I’m sure somebody didn’t just wake up one day and say “I can’t wait to work myself to exhaustion.” The question is, “where did we go wrong?”
If we are going to dive into the Oh-so-American idea of “the grind,” we should probably look at the numbers first. To begin, the United States is the only country in the Americas without a national paid parental leave benefit. The average being 12 weeks in most countries, while the European average is over 20. To put it simply, having a child in the United States is a serious struggle, even for those in the upper-middle class. I doubt many Americans could fathom the idea of taking of several months off work. Without this paid leave, you need to have a pretty healthy nest-egg. We are the only industrialized nation in the world without a mandatory option for new parents to take leave. Just typing this makes me a little sad.
Since we mentioned parental leave, we may as well discuss vacation and sick leave. The U.S. remains the only industrialized nation which does not require paid sick days or annual leave. There is no law in this nation requiring employers to give us any time off. It’s pretty much a case of “If you don’t work, you don’t get paid,” and that has long-lasting effects on both mental and physical health. For example, France requires employers to provide full-time employees with 30 days of paid vacation. Let that sink in for just a moment.
We as Americans are the outliers of the global workforce. We tend to take what is given to us, and we’ve been taught to be “thankful” that we have a job and not to complain. This mentality prevents us from fighting for our rights as workers. This results in what’s commonly referred to as “burn-out.” I’ve mentioned before how it felt like the world needed a break. We identify with our professions a bit too much, and we base our self-worth on productivity. We can thank “the grind” for that!
There’s another side to this. There’s an element to “the grind” which isn’t all doom and gloom. That’s when you love what you do. I count myself as one of the lucky-ones in this regard. Psychologists always preach this idea of a work to life balance. This balance can vary, based on how much happiness you derive from your work. Now I'm not knocking anyone else's chosen career path. We all have bills to pay and mouths to feed, but I do wonder what draws people to certain fields. Did they just stumble into things like selling insurance and making investments, or was this a passion of theirs? Did some of these people read the Wall Street Journal as a kid, waiting for the days when they too could trade by day, or was it something else?
I can't speak for anyone else about their dreams, anymore than they could understand mine. Having spent many of my adult years explaining to people "Yes, this is my actual job," all while feeling the hot breath of their judgement, I knew from a pretty young age I wanted to make people smile. Studying theatre in college, I thought I'd have a life on stage, entertaining the masses. The thing is, I get more of a thrill creating, knowing what I've made brightened someone's day. After all, it's not like we receive the vacation time we need for those happy moments. The best I can do is give you something tropical to sip at sunset.
.75oz Lightly-Aged Jamaican Rum (Something with a bit of funk would be best. I use a blend of Appleton and Smith & Cross)
.75oz London Dry Gin
.25oz Cachaca (The grassier the better. This is like the flavoring agent here)
.5oz Don's Spices #2
.5oz Honey Syrup
.75oz Lime Juice
1.5oz Orange Juice
4 dashes Angostura Bitters
Poco Grande Glass
Whip shake and pour unstrained
Top with pebble ice
Garnish with trimmed ti leaf, orchid, parasol, and tiny surf board.
Hopefully I don't take such a long break from you again, my most thirsty of readers. As the world seems to come back online, so does my hectic schedule. New projects are on the horizon, and I'm sure I'll be sharing some of them with you soon. Until that time comes, keep your heads up, and always keep shaking.