It’s finally almost over! Although I was able to relax (maybe too much) and catch up on some much needed sleep (again… ), I’m glad that the pressures of deadlines and juggling my time to accommodate everything will soon be back. I guess it’s possible that if I were in Cancun, or Fort Lauderdale or Palm Springs I would be dreading the return to the daily grind. Possible, but not likely. Just like the 2006 version, I am looking forward to the conclusion of Spring Break 2007.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good vacation and it’s probably true that I needed a couple of days to regroup - but nine? I used to think that having five weekdays off, sandwiched between a pair of weekends, was pure, unadulterated heaven. A week of doing nothing but eating and sleeping, without a care in the world - especially in contrast to the pressures of the weeks leading up to it - was, at one time, the destination. Indeed, the only thing better would be a lifetime of days without toil or worry… a lifetime of the “good life.”
Unfortunately and as I have discovered in the last five or six years - I am not built that way. If I don’t have some sense of urgency to get something done, nothing much gets done. And I want to say how unfair that is; lament why I can’t be happy doing nothing - indeed I want to curse the heavens, “What happened?” I used to be able to let the world go by with nary a thought. Not caring was all I cared about. Procrastination was often followed by dereliction and I was happy with that. Now, I am at my most content when there are things to do - the kinds of things that have a firm deadline. You know, the kind with an implied and understood “or else” clause.
I like to read. I love to write. Photography is a passion of mine. And although I have spent much of my free time these past several days doing those things, none of them are required for anything at all. It’s just for my personal enjoyment. Still, I had to literally peel myself away from the couch almost every time. Therefore, as I write these very words, I am having a revelation - right here, right now! Could it be that a component of what I like so much about these and other similar tasks in my life is the deadline? Is it possible that for me to extract maximum contentment from my toils, there must be someone waiting for the results?
I don’t want to give the impression that my life would be a stagnant blob without a deadline driving everything. The laundry still got done. The shopping and other chores are still unscheduled but regular events. But nobody is going to say anything if I intend to do such and such on Wednesday and I don’t get to until Thursday. There is no “or else” for these and other similar jobs. But I don’t generally like to do these things. I am not eager to go clean the bathroom - ever. But I do love to write, and shoot pictures, and read - really and truly.
Why then have I not spent this abundance of free time doing those things? Why has it been such an effort to pour myself into these things, my favorite things? Part of it, I think, must be the lack of a deadline. No one requires it, no one needs it now and there is no pressure. It is not that I absolutely need that external pressure to do these things I enjoy - the evidence is before you, but it surely appears to be a component that drives production and in some abstract way adds to my satisfaction. Spring Break, as far as I’m concerned, might just as well be a three-day weekend.