If there is one thing from my early start in theatre that I am grateful for now, it’s the lack of weekends and limited time off.
(Now, this sounds like the start of a post glorifying burn-out culture. Stay with me, it’s not. I promise.)
Because since I was a 16, I’ve had work on weekends. If I wasn’t rehearsing a show, I was rehearsing a dance routine with my partner. I looked forward to the weekends only because it meant I go to focus on work that I wanted to do, instead of calculus or bio.
College was the same, tech majors had weekend lab classes, rehearsals, and technical assignments. Then my post-grad internship in Art Administration was the same, as was my apprenticeship, my first “real” job gave me weekends back but after working 50-75 hours a week at a university desk, I was desperate for a creative outlet and I started producing theatre on the side and gave up the weekends in exchange for my soul.
Relaxing is clearly something I have never been particularly good at doing.
I finally hit my breaking point of long hours at office jobs and came back to Queens last year. And started to do this freelance thing for real while finishing grad school.
The thing about freelancing and holding down multiple contracts is that you don’t follow a regular schedule, there is never a set “weekend” or “day off” that I’m holding out for, I’m not working for the weekend, I’m working to get the job done.
There was a moment when I was working abroad. My final paper for the term was done and submitted, no meetings or writings to finish, I had the entire morning off before work. I had hours to do anything I wanted. I wasn’t used to this. But I didn’t want those precious hours to be wasted in my apartment.
I packed a book and went to the infinity pool upstairs that I hadn’t seen yet. The next time this happened, I packed a lunch and went to a beach across the city, then to one of the markets, later it was on a yacht ride through the marina, or a last minute charter bus out of town arriving back in time for my 3pm bus to work.
I stopped waiting for the time I was told was my “time off”, I stopped hanging on for my one day off a week to be the day I could actually enjoy my life. TGIF was always laughable to me in the past, now it made me a bit sad.
Why would I ever want to wait until Friday night to do what I wanted to do?
If I can get there and get my work done, who says I have to wait for the weekend or the day off to have an adventure? Who made weekends sacred? Who said I can’t have a lovely adventure on a Monday morning?
I was lucky that my workaholic nature and industry never let me take time for granted. I was never able to sit still for two days, I always wanted to be doing or experiencing something. I’ve been so blessed that because of this urge I have gotten to experience so much in my 27 years, more than many people experience in their lives.
I’m off today and most of this week. My savings from abroad means that I can afford to experience life a bit more slowly than I’m used to these days, at least for a while. While I’m enjoying the time to ease back into life in NYC, I’m already looking for the next thing to try.
Today is indie bookstore day, I’m planning a walk through Queens to hit up a few of my favorite spots and find new places to read my finds. I have new museums on my list, I have things to see, I am so lucky to live in a city where it is inexpensive to explore and see and try new things.
I’m not working for the weekend. I’m not waiting for Friday, for the New Year, the new job, the new reason to start over or try something new. Or try something I’ve always wanted.
I have no excuse to not start right now.
So what are you waiting on? What’s your excuse for not starting today?