My daily schedule for the last month has been different than it’s been for the last, oh, nearly 10 years. In the middle of February I began an extended leave of absence for a “sanity check” from what had become a largely grueling existence in my marketing career. I love[d] my job, much of it anyway, but for too long, was letting it eat away at parts of my existence that needed protecting. That’s not the job’s fault per se, but more a statement about my prioritization of the elements of my life and what forces I will allow to exert pressure over my life.
For the last month, I have been involved in a massively intense and formal process of self-examination and reteaching. Tomorrow however, the reins get loosened a little and I will find myself with a bit more free time. During the last month, I’ve only gotten out to shoot photos on one occasion and it was really just on a moment’s notice. I hope to find more moments, and in more planned situations in the coming months.
That said, I look towards the modest free time I am about to have and am feeling an equal sense of freedom and anxiety about it. There is much to look forward to, obviously, more time to write and reflect, as well as to photograph and simply “exist”… but there is also the danger of allowing that time to consume me. This is a danger I think we all face from time to time, taking the modest free time we do have and putting such a value on it that we are almost crippled by its own majesty. It’s like a beautiful pastry — you’re afraid to eat it because the moment you cut into it, you’ll destroy its beauty.
I think this stems from our near constant state of being over-committed, as well as a simple lack of decision making power. I’m only speaking for myself, of course… I’m sure most folks out there handle their time off with a simple “roll with it” attitude and don’t give it much thought. But for me, schedule shifts that suddenly allow for more “open” time to myself can be tricky. Setting clear goals each day for what I want to achieve, and then doing those things first, allow for contingencies during the day that tend to crop up and cause problems. On the flip side, if all goes well, I will find myself with a productive morning behind me and a guilt-free afternoon ahead of me.
The most important thing however, is that I need to remember that while tomorrow will come and go, there will be more days in the future that will serve the same purpose. I’ve never bought into the idea that you “live each day as if it’s your last”… that’s the kind of thing people say just before they do something they’ll regret tomorrow… and there will be a tomorrow.