I think the last 5 years and a half (undergrad, plus 1.5 years of the real world) of my life has been an exercise in time management.
For a while I did not have a job. I felt like I had too much time, and didn’t get to do anything I wanted to do, because I felt like I had to job search. Even though one can’t job search 24 hours a day, I still felt guilty whenever I took a break or wanted to spend money on any of my interests.
Then I had a part-time job at a grocery store. I felt like that time was wasted, but the rest of my time was more fun. It was only slightly better than the no-job-at-all situation, because I wasn’t making enough money to survive, nevermind have fun, but I did make a few friends.
Now I have a full-time job, and I feel like I don’t have time for anything. At first I was learning stuff I thought would be useful, and some of it still it. The office stifles my creativity and sucks away my energy. The positive: when I get home, I have a surplus of creativity, and since I have no energy, I don’t want to go anywhere so I sit at home and either write music or clean. I also have enough money to take workshops. The negative: I feel like the time at work is wasted life.
When I was unemployed, I remember thinking that nothing could be worse, and it might be true. The guilt and lack of freedom and means to practice a craft are terrible. Being someone who likes to be busy, this was especially excruciating. However, now that I occupy most of my day doing something I’m not passionate about, I’m starting to feel like an empty, exhausted shell. I have the money to do what I love, but I don’t have the time; I’ve been trying to fit everything (including exploring so I can actually discover my passions; taking skill classes, going to the gym) into the time after work and before sleep. At first I thought it was going to work, but I quickly began to feel too scattered, especially since I’m a person who benefits from really diving into something for a relatively long period of time. I became overwhelmed, and unhappy.
I spent all of my free time after work these past couple weeks figuring out a change of lifestyle and career. I latched onto and starting pursuing a few different ideas, but none of them stuck. I considered quitting many times and being unemployed for a bit, and maybe subletting my apartment so that I could have the time to figure things out. Today, I’ve found a solution I can deal with for the time being: if I take workshops in the fields I’ve decided I wanted to pursue (the figuring out of which was MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than I convey: fiction writing and eventually journalism, photography and eventually film), my job might be more bearable. I need my job to be bearable to be able to fund said workshops. Gradually, as my skills improve and opportunities present themselves, I will be able to switch careers.
Also, now that I’ve found something I can devote most of my time to, something that in my mind is furthering my career, I suddenly feel like I have time for so many more things. I’m starting to feel less overwhelmed, but strangely like I can get more done. I don’t feel guilty baking cookies. I feel good about watching a movie. I could even bust out a paintbrush and paint a bush or something. It’s like I’m getting what I need to get done, so the rest of my time is guilt-free pleasure. Will it stick this time?
I don’t know but finally, hope.