Today is the first ‘new Monday’; the first whole week where I can decide what I do with my time, how much I write. Staggeringly it is a month since I wrote The Daunting Prospect of Reinvention – and what’s more bizarre is that it feels as if I have been footloose and fancy-free for more than just the Thursday and Friday of last week…
The primary reason for this feeling is that the ‘glide-path’ during my last month at work saw me required to ‘do’ less and less; given there was no abrupt cut-off, you could argue I’ve had my time to myself for much longer than the middle of last week. Which is great, isn’t it?
So why the angst?
Structure. Like it or not, ‘work’ imposes structure upon us: times we start and end; meetings we need to be in; things we need to do; people we need to see and with whom we need to talk. It provides us an agenda which allows us to abdicate responsibility for how we spend huge chunks of our time. Scandalous though that may be, if you think about it that’s how we are conditioned to be. As babies, our parents imposed routine upon us (or tried to!); and then comes school, college. Work is just the next (final?) extension. So when you take that away..?
I’m trying to give myself a calendar of sorts, goals for the day: do this, work on that. It’s helping – and it gives me a chance to measure myself – but it’s also easy to cheat. On one level, it doesn’t matter – even though I tell myself it does. For example: 11-12 every day, exercise (bike, run or gym); blog/post/tweet something everyday from at least one of my sites; work on my latest novel/collection of poems; work on my publishing ventures.
There’s enough in that list to keep me busy, but this is where the rubber hits the road; this is where it all comes down to discipline, self-control, belief.
I’ve called my bluff. It was theoretical, romantic, idealistic when I articulated the proposition, but now…