Creating work for myself

When Tyler leaves for a weekend to play Dungeons and Dragons in Sacramento, I end up doing one of two things with my time. I watch Coursera philosophy courses in double-time or I stare at the wall, stuck in my fucking head. And then, eventually, I’ll write.

It’s funny that anything should change when he leaves because our time together is almost always passive companionship. He’ll play a computer game and I’ll read on the beanbag. But there’s something about that sense of companionship that helps create the sense that we’re doing more than just that. This is why I have 3 cats. Another type of silent relationship that requires little of me.

I made the bed before 6:15AM today. It’s Sunday but my body does not care. Every day is the first day of a 3-day weekend when you’re unemployed, so it’s all the same. I’m fast asleep by 9 or 10 and up by 5 or 6, no matter the day. I figure it’s good practice for when I get my shit together.

Sometimes I will stop and appreciate how lazy I am not. So do my 6 roommates, all graduate students. They all like to joke about how I am the most productive person in the house, despite not having a job or any actual responsibilities aside from keeping the cats alive. And they are kind of right if you consider maintaining a personal blog and selling used clothes productive.

I create work for myself, crush to-do lists, and find ways to feel accomplished by the end of each day. Yesterday I wrote about my struggles adhering to the Konmari Method. That’s an example of creating work for myself. Even writing about it could be considered work, since it’s creation and not consumption.

I asked my roommate what I’m supposed to do, if not something productive. He laughed and said Netflix, drinking, going out. But what do you do when you don’t really like watching stuff (GoT the clear exception) or going out? What do you do if you live in a city and you’re not a city person? Eat? Drink? I can do those things at home, for cheaper, and with fewer people. Cities are filled with opportunities to spend money disproportionate to your return. And they’re so loud.

What do you do if you’ve already read for several hours that day, written, done the chores, applied for jobs, and still have more bloody time? I can’t just sit around doing nothing, watching TV, drinking. It’s not worth the shitty feeling in the end and it feels so empty. One solution would be to sleep, but I get enough of that. I have so much time that it’s killing my motivation to do anything.

Last year I volunteered to solve this problem. I’d just quit my job (shocker) and didn’t know what to do. So twice a week, I’d walk the mile and a half down to the Hayward Senior Center to call BINGO and serve lunch. Then I’d walk to the local theater and help sew costumes. I kept this up for about 3 months until I got bored and annoyed with the people I worked with. But because I’m a professional, I gave them 2 weeks notice before I left. And that was that.

Perhaps this time I will take a different approach. Maybe I should get back into canning. I could can all kinds of sauces and soups and curries. It feels incredibly satisfying to watch them stack up, one jar at a time, perfectly lining the back wall of the shelf. Maybe today I will make a list of everything I want canned, itemize the ingredients, and start cooking.

Did I just create more work for myself?


Wife, yogi, and cat mama living in the SF Bay Area.

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