Monday, 4 April 2011
Today is the first day of my new job. It is 11.21am, and I am bored. I know I am going to live to regret saying this – in a couple of weeks I’m pretty confident that I will be running around like a headless chicken. But that is okay. Good, even. I can cope with busy. What I can’t cope with is doing nothing. This doesn’t just apply to work, although I do feel excessively guilty if I am busy doing nothing and getting paid for it. It applies to my own time too. It has got a little bit silly. My diary is full – not necessarily with social events, but also with little reminders of things I “need” to do – writing, going to the gym, calling the landlord, paying the bills, doing the gardening. Even when I read a book in bed it is for my book club or some kind of career development guide. I have heard a lot of people talking about using their time wisely, but I think I have started to take it to the extreme. Even my television viewing is limited to things that I really want to watch. Gone are the days when I used to sit in front of the box in my pyjamas on a Sunday morning. Every now and then I do give myself a bit of time out. Take this weekend, for example. On Saturday I had a Hen Do followed by a Birthday Boogie. After a frantic bit of writing work I headed into town to do some errands before heading south of the river to meet my fellow Hens. We met in The Hope on Wandsworth Common before heading off to You Make a Cake where we, you guessed it, made cakes. Cupcakes to be exact. I have to say I was particularly proud of my pink lemon offerings. Even Him Indoors said they looked professional (like the ones from the Hummingbird Bakery, in fact!). Several glasses of champagne later we headed to another pub in Balham (The Regent) where it was burgers all round, washed down with copious amounts of wine. Cocktails and dancing followed before I headed to Soho and joined in the festivities for my friends’ 31st birthday at Madame JoJo’s. Needless to say it turned into a very late night, and an uncharacteristically lazy Sunday ensued. I finally emerged from my pit in the early afternoon and, after some much needed sustenance, popped down to the supermarket to buy a chicken for a Sunday Roast. One episode of Deal or No Deal and the last in the series of True Blood later and it was about time to go to bed. Had I been to the gym? Nope. Made a start on my next craft project? Certainly not! But had I had an enjoyable weekend? For sure. I know I am not alone. A few weeks ago a friend confessed to me that she sometimes finds herself sat at the bottom of the stairs, trying to figure out what she needs to do next, feeling guilty for finally resting after running around for hours doing the cleaning, the shopping, making dinner. Why do we do this to ourselves? What do we fear? That the world will stop turning if we dare to do nothing once in a while? That we will not succeed, be fulfilled, meet our full potential? I know that my dreams will not be dashed if I take it easy once in a while and that I need to re-charge my batteries every now and then. But I still keep going. I think the real fear is that if I stop, I won’t be able to start again. Which is ridiculous. What is more likely is burnout if I carry on putting so much pressure on myself to be doing something all of the time. So, I have a new plan. Along with my resolution to enjoy London more often and go to all those places I’ve never been to and really fancy, I am going to make myself to nothing once in a while. Maybe for five minutes every day, or possibly for a couple of hours once a week. I haven’t decided yet. But it’s going in my diary, alongside the gym and my writing group. And with the exact same amount of importance.