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The other day a friend asked me, “What exactly do you do all day?” He meant it in the nicest way possible – he was genuinely curious about how I spend my copious amounts of free time – but my gut reaction was to get defensive. I’m busy, I wanted to reply. I’m productive, I’m not wasting my time, I promise.
I used to life my life with my extreme busyness as proof that I must be valuable and important. My calendar was so full of back-to-back meetings that my assistant would try to schedule in time for me to go to the bathroom or eat a quick lunch. I used to complain about being so busy, but secretly I was proud. Being busy, having a to-do list a mile long, constantly looking forward to the next goal, was an addiction. I fed off the high I got from checking things off my list, from jetting off to meetings, from being able to recount everything I accomplished that day/week/month. I equated my worth as an individual with how much I accomplished.
Leaving my job forced me to confront my addiction head on. I got a lot of advice from friends when I left about how I should be sure to set goals and objectives for my time off, otherwise I’d feel like I was – god forbid – wasting time. Like the type A overachiever that I am, I took their advice to heart and sat down to write my goals. Otherwise, how could I know whether I was getting an “A” in not working? Except something in me rebelled, because this is what I wrote down in my journal:
During my time off I want to:
- get 8 hours (or more!) of sleep each night
- exercise every day (Monday-Friday) and once Saturday/Sunday
- learn new crafty skills that I can use to help make our life and our home more comfortable, enjoyable and fun
- reconnect with friends and family and re-establish relationships that are important to me
- eat delicious and healthy food that makes me feel good and supports my goal of loosing weight
- practice some foundational habits that I believe will help me be happier, e.g. mediation, writing in my journal daily, making our bed
- let my mind wander
- be present in the moment
- laugh. a lot