For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get back into writing (for fun). Writing has always been, in some form, a big part of my life, but writing for my own pleasure, and writing to share my thoughts with others and start meaningful conversations, has been a true source of fulfillment for me. I haven’t been successful at tapping into this interest of mine for the past several years, as it proved quite difficult to find time for it while forging through three years of law school. Now that I have some free time, I’d like to try to find my roots again with shaping my thoughts through words, my words, and with respect to my life and experiences.
Speaking of free time, the other night, as I was struggling with a bout of anxiety that I couldn’t quite figure out, I called my dad to talk through it. As we spoke, I figured out that a large part of what was bothering me was the fact that I had time to myself, and didn’t know what to do with it. Or, rather, that I felt like there was something I should be doing with that time that I wasn’t. You see, when you’ve spent years and years as a student accustomed to long days of classes and late nights of reading textbooks, writing papers, and fulfilling other obligations, it’s a bit of a shock when, all of a sudden, you have hours of time to fill, and whole weekends to yourself, but no idea what to do with all of that time.
It sounds like such a ridiculous thing to have anxiety over, I know, but for me it has been quite the adjustment. After spending all of these years with my days filled up for me by school, I suddenly have no idea what to do with myself now that I have time over which I have control. Sure, I have my job, which consumes most of my days, but those hours after work and the weekends have thrown me for a loop. I have time to watch The Golden Girls and not feel guilty? I can go to a coffee shop and read a book (for fun!) on the weekend? I don’t have a class assignment to power through in the evening after a long day of classes? What the hell is going on?
Another aspect of this transition that I’m working through is truly learning how to be alone for the first time. When you’re in school, you have a built-in group of peers (whether you care for them or not) with whom you spend most of your days. You get used to having them around, and they almost become a safety net for you. You’re inside of this safe little bubble of consistency and structure and familiarity. But when that safety net goes away and you’re forced to define, at least to some extent, your community and structure for yourself, it’s a little intimidating. And it can be lonely for a little while, I’m finding, especially if you’re a single person living on your own. There are many evenings when I come home from work, thrown down my things, look around, and go: “Well, now what?”
I’ve talked to a few people about this recently, and I’ve been asked what my hobbies are–what do I like to do in my free time? It recently occurred to me that I have absolutely no idea what the answer to that question is. For many years, I’ve been used to my plate being filled with school and school-related activities. I never had time to develop a hobby or truly figure out what interests me outside of my work. And, if I’m being honest, as a fairly shy person, I think I’ve intentionally made work my “hobby” because it’s a lot easier than having to put yourself out there and figure out where and with whom you belong.
All of this is to say that it’s probably time that I figure out the fun side of this “adulting” business. I’ve worked, and continue to work, very hard professionally, but haven’t quite figured out the art of taking time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. We spend so much of our lives working and chasing the next goal, but it’s important to cultivate a rich personal life that balances out the energy we expend as professionals. I look forward to figuring out what that rich personal life will look like for me as I continue this transition from student to “real-life adult.”
If you took the time to read this thing, thank you. I hope you’ll stick around as I try to get back into my writing. One of the best parts of doing this is being able to share my thoughts and connect with others who can relate in some way or have a different perspective to offer. Here’s to hoping that I can make that connection with some of you through this blog.