Never feel guilty about having time

I want to explain the basic structure of my blog.

Most of the posts I write, I write in second person. I use a lot of “you” and act like this super wise person who, somewhere along the line, became qualified to offer unsolicited advice.

That’s not actually what’s happening here. The majority of the things I write are personal letters to myself. The “you” I’m speaking to is actually me. Some people keep gratitude journals, my daily self-reminders are written online.

For the first time in six months, I have time on my hands.

For the next month of my life, I’m not working. I mean, I am working, but not in the go-in-at-eight, get-off-at-seven kind of working I’m used to.

I’m spending all day, every day photographing a cookbook. How awesome is that? I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about…anything, honestly. Except the day I moved back to DC.

I’m photographing a cookbook for my friend Meg Doll—a girl I interviewed back in 2014 as a Paleo success story. She flew into Reagan from Saskatchewan Monday night, and we spent yesterday shopping around town for our first shoot.

“Meg, I feel so guilty right now. If I were at work, I would have two-and-a-half hours left in my workday. And here I am, laying on this couch.” I basically walked into my apartment after a full day of prop-hunting, dropped my bags, and collapsed in the living room.

shopping for food propsMeg, who’s been self-employed since graduation, stared at me. “You need to enjoy that,” she said. “When are you going to get this chance again?”

My friend Maranie—one of the most talented photographers in existence who I am fortunate to call my friend—has been telling me the exact same thing. I’m twenty-seven years old and I’m going to have my name printed on the cover of book. For the love of everything good, just enjoy it while it lasts.

When I’ve had free time before, I didn’t embrace it.

This winter, the marketing agency I worked for shut down the week before Christmas and New Years. No one took PTO—we collectively took “Christmas break” like we were freshmen in high school.

Some coworkers went to Miami and oversees, I flew to Iowa to see my family. For better or for worse, I did not work while I was off. I checked my email once, in a job where I got upwards of 100 emails a day. Even though my work computer went in hibernation for the duration of my trip home, my brain never turned work off. I knew how fast that week was going to go, and each day out of the office was just one day closer to the morning I was back in it.

On New Years Eve, I packed my suitcase. Instead of thinking of the awesome time I spent with my family that week, all I could think about was the mile-high pile of work waiting for me back in DC (I would work a 70 hour week my first week back—in a four-day workweek). I told my parents, and my dad’s only response was, “You have not seemed happy this trip.”

I really, really want to enjoy this time. For the next month, I’m get to do something I love every minute of the day.

I hated that he said that. I hated that I, who encouraged other people to live life to the fullest, couldn’t take my own advice and enjoy the time in front of me.

Which is exactly what I was doing yesterday.

One month from now, I’ll go back to the standard office life. I’ll run at 6AM, not because I want to, but because it’s the only free window in my schedule. I’ll scramble to pack my own lunch instead of Meg cooking me gourmet meals each day. I’ll struggle to find time to do the things I love—like working out too much and writing posts for pure enjoyment.

I don’t have the answer. I don’t know how to put my neurotic, I must do something at all times to be productive otherwise I’m worthless self on hold to just enjoy the time I have. I just want you to know I’m aware of it.

And you should be too.

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You have flaws. You f-up on a daily basis. And that should be ok.