Anticipatory Low

Ever since I got the paperwork for my sabbatical done back in February, it’s been getting harder and harder to be enthusiastic about my dayjob. This might be in part due to public life still being in pandemic-induced paralysis, and me having worked almost exclusively from home since it all started. I’m sure it’s been getting harder for a lot of folks to feel enthusiastic about the present.*

But there’s another factor here where every creative idea I have drags me down because I think I don’t have the time and energy to act on it. I mean, I do have quite a bit of overtime left, but would it be enough to really get in the right headspace? In the face of the freedom that is to come, anything smaller feels insufficient. Basically, I’ve gotten so fixated on the 1st of August as this magical date when all my troubles will cease to be that it seems like all I can do before then is stoically bide my time.

But that’s not true. I can prepare. Sounds obvious, but for some reason, it didn’t occur to me until I spoke to my friends about it a few weeks ago. This “creative adventure” seemed just too unpredictable, and too distant from my mortal life to reach early for its contents with my unworthy hands. Or whatever. But if nothing else, I can work on the hands themselves, i.e. my mindset. Inch closer to the guy I want to face this adventure as. Which in the end – and perhaps ironically – means being more zen about it. Thus, freeing up time to relax has become my new form of preparation. And while it might sound a hell of a lot like waiting, it feels much less passive to me.

Plus, I’m not only trying to figure out a way to make those last three months relevant for what’s to come, I’m trying to give them a meaning of their own. Maybe there is some time for small creative outbursts after all. Even if it’s just a third-rate self-referential article on my blog. Or maybe now’s the time for small chores that I’ve previously put aside. Anything that may one day make me look back on the coming three months and realize that hey, at least I didn’t do nothing. At least I finally beat the toad boss in that old Naruto game on the PS3. That’s time well spent.

* Evidence supporting that hypothesis is all over social media, and it’s all over my workplace, too. I really like my job, and I know my colleagues love theirs. We all know that we’re lucky to be able to work, and work in this way, but lately, that’s not been enough to hold back the exhaustion. In fact, our company has gone so far as to invent a few extra holidays this spring to give us a chance to refuel. So I’m confident it’s not just me.

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