• Category: News
  • Date: Jun 09, 2022
  • Written from: London, UK
  • Keywords:

Hard work is sacred?


Most dialogue around 'hard work' lacks texture. "Find more balance!", "You are not your work!", "Take breaks!". It reads like a billboard, catching my eye, making me nod, but doing nothing to chip away at the complexity of why translating those prompts into action is often difficult.

That was until I read Seren's letter. She speaks to how the reality of 'hard work' is often a hell of your own making, despite it feeling like a matter you have no say in, because you feel pulled, compelled, by something outside of you, or something deep within you. She speaks to how you have no desire to glorify it, because it's extremely unglorious, and you know this, you do, but still you feel protective over it, because it's a private act. It's wildly different to internet #hustle for this very reason - it's sacred, for your eyes only, constantly downplayed to friends and family who implore you to take a break. She speaks to how this feels, in real-time, with no productive soundbites in sight, and she does so, beautifully.


It was 8:47am on Friday April 22nd when I received a voice note from Roxy, a friend I love dearly but don’t manage to see often enough. The voice note was 90 seconds long, she’s checking in as it’s been a while, and she’s right, we last caught up in early December. “You appeared in two of my dreams recently” she began, “and you seemed to be really sad” she continued.
It was 7:30pm by the time I emerged from the hellish haze of a 12-hour work day, made more unforgiving by the ever-regular, but never-welcome descent of hormones, cramps, and general discomfort. I filled her in on the last few months starting with the truth - over-working, a surprise hen-do I threw, a new gym membership - and ending with the Truth:
“All I do is work - is this it?”
I’m well acquainted with this thought - it’s arrival is predictable, recurring, sometimes erupting out of me through tears, other times a quiet, calm, and rational observation.
I work a lot. The day job takes up 4 long days, the founder job 1.5 longer days, leaving a very humble, very short, 0.5 days to squeeze in workouts, seeing my friends and family, and having some semblance of a dating life.
…is that it?


I whisper when I write this, but I wish I didn’t fall in love with the grind. I talk not of rags-to-riches tropes or whatever is posted on that instagram account Female Hustlers, but rather, the much more dystopian space of never knowing boredom, of filling every moment. Of life being so full that you can no longer keep a grasp on it, no longer keep a lid on it, and things start to slip, to escape. And then you start to slip, to escape, to become foggy in the mind, to burn out.

I’ve always been impressionable - it’s a blessing and a curse - and the paradigm of ‘putting in work’ is well and truly impressed on my psyche.

I long to relax my face and unclench my jaw without being told to do so. To have the spirit of Thanos, after he’s disintegrated half of the world’s population in Avengers: Endgame - Ease. I’d like to just be. I do, I long for it.

And then my Gmail starts pinging.

And so, I reacquaint with my dystopia for a little while longer.


I asked Seren for some outfits - as Kind Regards is about clothes and conversations. She sent me these 3 images, stating "she has nothing else to offer". My response was "Erm, perfect." 1 - Deep in work on a Sunday in Spring 2022.  2 - Out for a book club social. 3 - Working on NYE 2020.


It’s a place that I keep from my socials because it’s not admirable or sexy. A place that I falsely reassure my parents is becoming more hospitable (although I’m definitely not a guest), more manageable. A place that very few people close to me really, wholeheartedly understand and experience.

It’s thick, it’s gloopy, it’s mundane, it’s endless, and in spite of all of the adjectives that I seek to try and describe it, it just is. It’s a hell of my own making. It’s a hell of your own making. A perpetual highway, where every now and then, we come across an exit sign that we acknowledge, in our peripheral, fantasise about for a moment, and assure ourselves that we’ll take it when it shows up next time.

For now, however, I just hang on. Hang in. Get through to the end of the week, the month, the year. Every time the exit sign reappears, and it always does, it feels like sink or swim. Burnout or take a bloody break. And somehow, for some reason, the extremes evade me and I somehow manage to keep treading water. It’s a little terrifying.

As I write this letter it’s coming up to 10pm on a glorious Friday night. I know I should be sipping wine on a rooftop somewhere in East, celebrating my last month being 27, but I rest my case.

And having said all of this, I’m reminded that this place I have reluctantly and lovingly created belongs to me.

It is mine.

Maybe one day I'll be able to articulate my thoughts and better understand why I can’t take the turning or reach for the lifeline. But for now, I’ll continue being the only me that I know, in a space that I have made my own.

It is what it is.



Kind regards,

Seren Tanaka Lloyd Jones