Learning to Embrace Unproductivity: Not Really A Guide

Learning to Embrace Unproductivity: Not Really A Guide

At the beginning of this year, I set up a lot of specific pottery related goals. I scheduled at least 1-2 art markets every month and I was going to make so many pots. Then I got thrown into a whirlwind of traveling mid-year through, and haven't had a chance to sit down and do pottery for 3 months. I've traveled to a few African countries on short notice and just got back home for a few days before heading out to Italy for two weeks (this time actually for vacation).

I can hardly believe it is September already and I haven't done all the things I set out to do from January 1st. I feel completely incompetent and my brain is scrambled from trying to catch up to all the jet lags. Yet for the first time in a long time, I am so incredibly flooded with gratefulness and content.

Diani Beach Mombasa Kenya

I am a list kind of girl. I love making to-do lists, things I am grateful for, an email with bullets delegating detailed responsibilities to others, and possibly a checklist of grocery items before I head out the door. It is absolutely against my nature to be unproductive. Idleness gives me anxiety, a lot of it. So when I had to travel for weeks to a different continent for work, I was extremely excited and nervous, excited that I get a chance to see a completely different world, yet nervous that I cannot control my own emotions & overwhelm.

rhinos nairobi national park

I am not going to sugarcoat it and tell you, my dearest friends, that this is a all-smiling story, because it wasn't. It was more like a scary, wonderful wilderness of the safaris I visited, with sprinkles of breathtaking awe. There are days I work from early morning to late evening, crying at night stressed out and missing home; there are days I was having anxiety attacks and running on the street, then I got distracted by the monkeys on the side of the road; and there are days I am laying awake in bed, absolutely sweating just by existing because the city is having a blackout, and there are no electricity.

But there are other days, where I was completely taken over by a group of school kids wanting to take a picture with me in front of the national park; where I saw baby rhinos galloping behind his mom because he was scared of the vultures that are only half his size; where I saw the sunrise through the trees just like the opening of the Lion King on a safari, there's days I feasted on all the foreign food I have never tried before.

Diani Beach Kenya

I couldn't have imagined what my 2023 would be like at the beginning of this year. I had very structured disciplined plans on how this year was going to go, and fortunately, that didn't happen at all. Instead, I went on adventures across the world and harvested so much more love, friendship, and support than I ever imagined I had. Even though I have been unproductive in the sense that these goals I set for myself didn't come into fruition, but I have gained much more precious little things in life that I wouldn't exchange it for the world.

I am not very good at giving advice, but if you feel unproductive, sometimes I feel like you might be getting more and better things than you set out to receive. So sit back and look for the sparkles above the horizon.

With much love,


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