Time abroad was an elusive beast with magnificent wings who carried me to magical places. I soared through the year, drifting from one land to the next, each full of mystery and promise. A month ago, my winged beast abandoned me, casually dumping me from its back without a care, and down I fell, landing uncomfortably on an algae covered coat of fur. Time at home had become a three-toed sloth, moving only when necessary, and even then, very, very slowly. January absolutely crawled…on…by. I can still see it waddling down the road in my rearview mirror.
I don’t know why I am surprised. I knew I would have a lot of time on my hands when I came home. I knew it would be up to me to keep busy, to stay involved, to fill my days with meaningful things. I guess I just didn’t think it would be this hard.
The Unemployed have the kind of Time on their hands they spend so much of their working years dreaming about, wishing they had. And I truly thought I would relish this coveted endless quantity of Time, champagne bubble baths and cotton candy for everyone. But being back in my old life (well, except jobless) I’ve discovered it can be both incredibly amazing, and ridiculously frustrating.
What exactly is so frustrating, you ask (secretly hating me from your office)? Believe it or not, all of this Time is sooooort of difficult to manage, which is ironic, because in my past life, I was a project manager who did exactly that: managed Time. And based solely on my January performance, I should be fired from unemployment. I’m just not that great at it.
When I had a job, my days were so over-filled with personal interactions, I used to take sick days (though I referred to them as mental health days) just to be alone and breathe. When you no longer have a job to go to every morning, where it’s a given (at least for me) you’ll be around lots of other people all of the time, you realize you actually have to make an effort to include other people in your everyday life. People who would normally just fade into the mess of the busyness of my crowded life, I now seem to continually engage with, clinging onto personal relationships I’m not even into, just to have some sort of daily human interaction. I took people for granted when they surrounded me. Now when I go out into the world, i.e. leave the comforts of the Dorf Haus, I’m this strange combination of a weird old lady recluse, terrified of the reality of people, and one of those over eager dogs at the park. I’m like a stay-at-home housewife with zero responsibility for children. Or a husband. Or a house. Or anything.
I know what you’re thinking, because I have heard it a lot since I’ve been home. Quit bitching and get a damn job already! And I would, I really would. But I just don’t see a lot of value in that right now.
Because on April 20, I am going to fly to Georgia and start walking north. And I am going to try really, really, really hard to keep walking for 2,168.1 miles. Like, all the way to Maine.
Because on April 20, I am going to attempt to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.