Maybe 40 Hours A Week Is Enough

Traditionally, I don’t like to take time away from work.

I mean, that’s not entirely accurate; it’s more that I don’t feel comfortable doing that for a number of reasons — really, just a big one called insecurity surrounding my sense of self-worth and a misguided belief that I can become more valuable as a person if I simply just work harder, but I go to therapy for a reason, thank you very much — but it’s certainly true that, historically, I don’t tend to take time off if I can help it. It makes me uncomfortable, antsy. I feel as if there’s something I should be doing instead.

(Mixed In with this is traditional freelancer panic, of course; the feeling that saying no to anything puts my livelihood at risk, which is an obvious no-no.)

My usual disinterest in time off is so usual that three different people have commented on it in the past week, in fact, each expressing something akin to sarcastic concern over how I’d deal with the four-day weekend that comes with the Thanksgiving holiday.

Reader, I craved it. Heading into that break, I felt this intense need, a hunger, for that time off. I almost resented everything that stood in its way, the deadlines and requirements and the everything that traditionally helped me keep working. Even after the holiday itself, I dissembled and found reasons to stop myself from doing work that, in theory, I felt as if I “should” be doing. From out of nowhere, I discovered and embraced the joy of relaxing.

I have feelings about why this should be the case, but I think the truth is simply that I’m at a point in my life where — say this quietly for fear of upsetting people, not least myself — I’m not hiding from my life by working anymore. Indeed, I might even enjoy not working, but instead just living.

It’s a new thing I’m trying, as surprising as it’s going to be to everyone around me. I hope you’ll all be patient with me during this obviously trying time.

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