Starting over is a funny thing. You’re still the same person, but in a new place with different priorities.
I still enjoy my ritual of morning coffee each day, but now I sip it on the back patio with my laptop on my lap instead of at my desk. I still exercise, but now I’m more focused on finding my way around than keeping a strong pace. And I still have the same personal and professional goals for the long term, but each morning I wake up and ask myself, “What do I want to do today?”
Life feels a bit different, but in a good way—a really good way.
So far my days are comprised mostly of trying to figure out what to do next, which having been here for less than a month, it’s not completely unexpected to be asking that question daily. I’m not classically employed so my schedule is flexible — almost too flexible. I don’t set an alarm. I just get up when I feel like it, which recently has been around 7:30am each morning, (and I have no idea why.)
Then I open up all the windows and make coffee, and I ask myself, what should I do now? It’s a tough question. Do I write? Do I sit and enjoy the morning? Do I make breakfast? Do I go for a run? Do I read? Do I start my chores?
It’s amazing how suddenly there are just so many options! I’m not bound by time constraints or appointments. I just get to sip my coffee and ask, “what do I WANT to do?” It’s amazing how hard that question really is to answer when you’re so used to the answer not mattering.
Yet I still have responsibilities and a to-do list. This past week, I hired a neighborhood kid to cut my grass (since I don’t own a lawn mower) and finally bought health insurance. Every day I get the mail and empty the dishwasher, I water the plants and send emails. etc. etc. etc.
There will always be chores around the house that need my attention. But once they’re done and I’m free to do what I please…it’s amazing.
For the first time, I don’t feel guilty about how I spend my day. I don’t constantly feel like there’s something else I should be doing or guilty that what I’m doing isn’t “productive.”
And it’s been a good exercise in figuring out what really matters to me and what I just tell myself is important.
For example, I’ll find myself staring at my computer and thinking, “this isn’t where I want to be” so I close my laptop, head outside and just take some time to be. Or, when it gets too hot outside, I revel in my freedom to lay around and watch a few episodes on Netflix. It’s like summer vacation, but I think now I actually appreciate the opportunity to do nothing.
And when “relaxing” gets boring, I do something productive. I go for a run or a bike ride, checking out a new trail in the neighborhood, or finally tackle some social media tasks I’ve been putting off. But I don’t have to push through when I get tired. When my attention wanes, I move on to something else. I’m still surprisingly productive each day because I care about my projects and my work. And when I put something down to turn my attention to my work, I know the work really matters to me.
The days can be a bit meandering, sure. But life right now is low pressure and that’s what I really needed. I needed to hit refresh on my priorities and my lifestyle. I needed a break to reorient my personal compass.
Of course, this can’t be my every day for the rest of my life. I’d go mad! (and broke.) But this freedom has reminded me of how I want to spend my time and that has been the most liberating realization of all.
Things are changing every day and I haven’t even been here a month yet. I know that soon I’ll be working again and I’m eager to get out there to meet new people.
Life now will not be the same a month from now, and that’s fine by me. As long as I keep reminding myself to enjoy what I do and do what I enjoy, I’ll be happy with however things evolve.
I decided to start over because I was unhappy where I was before, and now, I actually feel happy. Maybe it’s the honeymoon period of a big life change, but it’s something. And I want to continue creating a lifestyle that perpetuates that happiness. Not everyone gets the opportunity to start over and I don’t intend to waste this incredible period in my life.
Though, one of these days, I’m probably going to need an excuse to put on some real pants.
What does your ideal day look like?
If you could spend a day doing anything, what would you do?