Hello again! This is a bit more of a wordy blog post. More thinky and what I hope is a bit of food for thought.
I’m the kind of person that likes to almost constantly be ‘on the move’. Not necessarily flitting from country to country or city to city, but in general I like to have something ‘going on’ all the time. When I first arrived in Vienna, having just quit my job in the jewellers for the year and leaving behind my taekwon do class, babysitting jobs and my sewing machine, among other things, I found it excruciatingly hard not to have so-called ‘duties’ to follow up on in the new city. Within the first week I’d had to apply to countless tutoring posts and babysitting ads and signed up to various childminding agencies, just so I could feel ‘productive’.
I’d call Lucy, back in Dublin and up to her eyes in final-year-mess, to complain about the slow trickle of emails from parents looking for childminders, most of whom actually wanted a live-in nanny, or at the very last a five-day babysitter (which was impossible, what with college and general living).
Eventually – as things almost always do – everything worked out beautifully and I ended up finding a job with a creative genius called Alice working on fashion-y and food-y marketing projects, and between that, the odd babysitting job, all my study and social-type-things, my days were full of activity.
Now, back in Dublin and with no clear sign of returning to aforementioned job in the near future, those little negative ‘do-something’ thoughts are creeping back in. But I’m trying to push them down. I’m trying to embrace and be grateful for this rare enough chance to do nothing.
I think one of the things that stresses me out about not having things lined up to do is answering the question ‘What’s the plan for tomorrow?’ If I have a job, I can simply say ‘Well, I’ve got work and then I’m off to the gym/I’ll grab a drink/I’m cooking something nice’. It’s very simple. But when there’s nothing important to fill the bulk of my day, I’m left stumbling around for potential ‘important’ activities to make it seem like I’m a together young woman (which I’m not, most of the time, job or not).
I read an article in a newspaper at Dad’s recently which basically was saying that free time is precious – when you have none in sight it’s all you want, but when you have too much you curse it.
But it is precious. You suddenly have time to think, learn new things, do things you wouldn’t normally do unless you’re trying to fill your day, and even learn more about yourself (or, in the current technological climate, you can find a lot of Pokémon. I have not yet fallen into the Pokémon Go trap – I don’t expect to.)
At the moment, along with no fixed-hours job, I have no car (I sold darling Peggy before moving to Austria and haven’t found something lovely enough to replace her yet). Still, this means meandering along through Dun Laoghaire, where I now live, marvelling at the little beach town and all its delights as I go to pick up spices for the designated Spice Cupboard. People’s Park is all a-bloom and as colourful as anything (with plenty of Pokémon hunters skulking about, I might add) and I even got my hair cut and coloured as a treat in one of the tiny little salons. I’ve started reading again (have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society? No? Do. It’s darling, and I love an epistolary novel) and I’ve joined the library, where I like to go after stopping for a mosey around the crockery section of Meadows and Burn interiors store. I sit at a window with my laptop and continue my creative-markety work for Alice (ok – I do have a job, even if I can work to my own schedule. But thank goodness Alice has saved me from utter desolation and Empty Purse Syndrome) and then creep about between the book stands making mental notes about things to read next. I have chitchats with my 105 year-old landlady who lives downstairs about curries and the fact she feeds all the cats in the neighbourhood at 7pm every evening (‘They rely on me, you know. And the foxes, too. They know I’ll be giving them their food’ – a woman after my own heart). Instead of grabbing a rare day off with both fraught hands and bombing relentlessly through the food shop, the long-lost-friend-meet-up, the overdue gym class and the filling out and signing and posting of the constant forms and applications to things, I am strolling languidly through a colourful life.
Just yesterday evening J and I went to see The BFG at the cinema, for example (‘The Notorious BFG’, as I like to call it. Where fairytale meets Biggie Smalls – the kind of world I’d like to live in). Today I am spending the day at the library finishing off an online wedding planning course I bought a few months ago. Life is trucking smoothly along, and I’m doing my best to free up the reigns and enjoy the peaceful ride.
So if, like me, you’re the kind of person to fret about being as productive as you can, 100% of the time – try to relax a bit sometimes and enjoy the little luxuries that come with free time. You deserve it 😉
Talk to you soon, chaps. Peace, love and chewy vanilla biccies (I have been fancying myself as a baker, recently. Can safely let that dream die, I’d say),