The Pressures of Having Too Much Time

Image result for too much time on my hands
-with apologies to Styx

In the past few weeks, I have found myself in the enviable position of having an income and not having to go to work. While this is a fleeting phase, I greeted the possibility with great expectation and hope for productivity. While the way that I arrived at this condition, through unexpected and premature unemployment due to resigning a job, probably is not the best means to be free of the day-to-day grind, it has taken a modicum of effort to get my sea legs in the ocean of undone tasks and household chores long ignored. Images of springing from my bed at sunrise have been replaced with the reality of questioning just what the heck I am doing in this mess and what happens when the tasks, chores, and money run out. I am lost, unfocused, and inert, a victim of malaise in the greatest degree.

In the past few weeks, I must admit that I have not been a slave to my situation totally. No, quite to the contrary. On the heels of my work exit (and in truth, the same day), I embarked on a magical trip to Paris, planned in advance yet amazingly timely. However, the Parisian whirlwind, a means to delay the impending new “reality” that awaited me at home, wasn’t fully a distraction and dinner conversation often wandered into the subject of picking up the pieces of career and passion, and of the feel of a life of unscheduled days. It was exciting and terrifying, all at once.

As those unscheduled days unfolded before me, I found myself only moderately productive as I migrated to too many hours spent in the throes of Words With Friends and Candy Crush Saga. There were the few odd loads of laundry, a closet or two dissected and reassembled, and a more than a few Konmari moments – my pajama drawer is a work of art. On other days, I have been forced to rise at an early hour for occupational therapy to address my December hand injury, having set the early appointments to accommodate my prior work schedule. And then there were the days when I purposefully dove into that recently realigned pajama drawer and thoughtfully chose my previous night’s pajamas so as to be comfortable as I anticipated and pursued a full-on “duvet day”, replete with vintage game shows and British television. On some level, I see that self-direction as progress.

Yet, barely two weeks into this altered reality, I find myself adrift, while at the same time, finding an equilibrium. I do think that there is a fear among my nearest and dearest that Mommy has lost the plot a bit. I could sense this belief when I announced that I would be attending daily Mass during Lent, and with this pronouncement, I committed to driving my grandchildren to school in close proximity of both time and location. A great cheer went up from the crowd – not only would Mom be getting up and dressed daily, but in addition, she would take the kids to school, saving the parents the daily trip. It was relief for the masses on two levels, and for me, as well. I found a purpose in life and a way to pave a clear path to the afterlife, all in one fell swoop!

I can’t lie, I have accomplished a few important tasks – like the new wall hangings installed in our bathroom, referring to various bodily functions in an artful way. Some would find this offensive; I am entertained. My favorite: “Please Remain Seated for the Entire Performance”. Classy, huh? And I visited my dear friend, Gail, who had surgery and I had yet to see since her convalescence due to a cold and my world travels. For those of you keeping score, chalk that one up to a “Corporal Work of Mercy” – Visiting the Sick. And I sewed – all of the sewing tasks that accumulated between my blinding eye issues this summer and fall, and my hand issue this winter. As I make my list everyday of tasks to attack, I know that there will come a time when all of the items will be ticked in completion, and I will take to the sofa and the British telly permanently.

At some point, I hope to wake up and say, “It’s time to go back to work”, but I am not there yet. However, as I move beyond a bad experience, I know that there is more to be done, both personally and professionally. I know that I have more to offer than an organized drawer or a lousy decorating project. I also know that I need to add one more item to my to-do list – update my resume, just in case.

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