I’m not entirely sure how this has happened, but I only have just over five weeks to go until I leave work. When I handed in my notice in early January, it seemed like there was a comfortingly long stretch of time until my actual leaving date, but now the daffodils are suddenly out and it’s nearly time to start my new temporary life as someone deliberately in between jobs. The comfortably long stretch of time has suddenly snapped back and hit me in the face like an elastic band.
A lot of clichés exist about the perceived duration or speed of time. And whilst I do know that the speed at which time passes is generally constant (some of you will probably go all Einstein on my ass and interject that a clock hurled through space ticks more slowly than a stationary one, or something like that, but my brain has never been very suited to theoretical physics so cut me some slack for this non-scientifically nuanced statement, ok?), time does indeed seem to go by very quickly at the moment. Which is partly exciting (I can start wrapping things up at work) and partly scary (if my 183 days go by just as fast, I’ll just have time to make a cup of tea and complete a Buzzfeed quiz about what character from Family Guy I am before I have to start work in a call centre to pay the rent).
I worry mostly that somehow I am not making the most of time: at the moment, I feel I am not spending enough time constructively looking for contacts and opportunities and spending too much time re-watching all of The Wire and squinting at my iPhone to read about the seventeen teeth cleaning mistakes I’m probably making according to the Huffington Post. One of my most annoying character traits is that I constantly feel guilty about not doing enough – if I’m tired after a long week or a night out and have a long lie-in, the rest of my day can easily be ruined by self-persecution about having ‘wasted’ half the day by sleeping. Which is quite spectacularly counter-productive, of course. EITHER get up early OR sleep late, be unapologetic about it and get on with the rest of the day.
One of the most important skills I will have to force myself to learn whilst I am not working is not to waste time by feeling guilty over not making the most of it. If I have a day, or two, or three, without anything concrete planned, I should enjoy the freedom of going for a walk in the park on a Monday morning, or seeing a film on a Wednesday afternoon, or mooching around the house in my pyjamas all day watching old episodes of Flight of the Conchords and eating too many peanut M&Ms. I have to remember that those 183 days are mine: I am buying them with my own money and can use them however I wish. Of course I would have good reason not to feel hugely pleased with myself if I spent the entire 183 days in my pyjamas, but I know I am not the kind of person to let that happen. I just have to learn that ‘making the most of time’ doesn’t necessarily mean cramming a million things into each day and collapsing into bed in an exhausted heap. Sometimes, making the most of time is just enjoying whatever it is you choose to do with it.
Do you ever feel guilty about not making the most of your time? And how do you deal with it? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.