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The Myth of “Selbst & Ständig"

a cat sleeping on a window sill
Elfie chilling on the window sill always reminds me to take breaks

So far, I'm thoroughly intrigued by delving into the myth behind the German pun “Selbst & Ständig,” encapsulating the idea that as a business owner, you shoulder the weight of everything, and the responsibilities never cease.

Having spent a lot of time abroad, I've learned to take German pessimism with a grain of salt (and perhaps a shot of tequila). However, these initial weeks of navigating the journey of entrepreneurship have been a real eye-opener.

It made me realise how deeply ingrained the societal notion is that anything beyond the 9-5, five days a week grind is considered abnormal.

Recently, I delved into a thought-provoking book that challenged my perspective on our calendar's constraints and our perception of time. While I understand that a day spans roughly 24 hours based on the sun's movements, and that the region I live in experiences four distinct seasons, I'm baffled by the conventional construct of a seven-day week, with only two days earmarked for rest. It's no news that this system, while seemingly natural, is man-made (no, that’s not a typo) and driven by economic motives.

Whilst I may be fashionably late to this realisation, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that embracing the ethos of "Selbst & Ständig" is where I belong.

Not necessarily in a relentless pursuit of 100% productivity around the clock, but rather attuned to the natural rhythm of my own body and cycle."

I firmly believe that a consistent work ethic can coexist with moments of respite, even within the confines of the traditional 9-5 structure. Yes, that includes granting oneself a two-hour nap between 4-6 pm.

In fact... I think it's time for a brief pause...

Disclaimer: I live in a single household together with my cat and understand that other life choices may not offer this amount of flexibility. The book I am referring to is “I Who Have Never Known Men” by Jacqueline Harpman


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