#38 Nothing to Do and All Day to Do It

When I decided to leave my job in the middle of a pandemic I knew that I would have no trouble keeping myself busy. And at first, I worked really hard to fill the hours in the days, to be productive. Mostly this revolved around home reorganization projects: color-coding the bookshelves, cleaning out the medicine cabinet, finally unpacking that one dresser drawer that I’ve been ignoring since I moved in 14 months ago. I made sure to keep in touch with family and friends. I wrote cards and letters. I made multiple trips to the post office.

And so many trips to the vet via the G train.

What I wasn’t doing was creating, which was the whole point of leaving my job in the middle of a pandemic. I was so busy keeping busy that there wasn’t any space left for anything else. Why was I running myself into the ground doing busywork when I was “supposed” to be lifting myself up to heretofore unknown creative heights?

“You have too much time on your hands!”

Ah, there it is.

Fear, guilt, shame. As a (very nearly) 50-year old childless and unmarried woman that phrase has been thrown at me from friends and frenemies alike. With the rise of social media, I learned pretty quickly not to post anything too frivolous because it provoked choruses of “must be nice!” from people who were obviously harder-worker and less self-absorbed than I. (Don’t even get me started on the number of times I’ve been branded with the “you hate kids” label. Seriously. Don’t.)

Over time, the worry over these judgements followed me even offline. I developed an unfortunate “well, THAT seems like a colossal waste of time” response that kills curiosity faster than it can even notice a cat. With the exception of movies and tv shows, which are universally acceptable guilty pleasures, I mostly file away playful pursuits under “Bird-brained Ideas” and sign up for another personal development course.

But, the thing is, creativity is playful and silly and whimsical. And if I’m not willing to explore that side of myself, how creative can I really be? If I’m hiding my harmless interest in rainbow stickers and witchcraft, how can I be honest about the less harmless parts my life in my art?

So, I’m here today to announce:

This week I am learning to paint my nails and read tarot cards.

Separately, of course. Although, there may be a new business idea there somewhere for a person who can do both things at once. Makes note in “Manifesting Journal.”

The FOOL card symbolizes new beginnings, the explorer, the adventurer. How bomb is that mani, though?

It’s taking every bit of self control i can muster not to offset the stunning declaration above with a laundry list of all the other non-frivolous, grown-up, good citizen things I’m also doing.

(That last sentence is meant to assure you, dear reader, that I am indeed doing all of the IMPORTANT things too. Sorry, creative recovery is a process. Sometimes the corporate efficiency expert in me must be heard.)

Anyway. I am loving this week. I am loving my nails. I am loving having too much time on my hands.

Cx

38/100

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