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Waking at the Crack Of Noon
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
I realize summer vacation has been over for quite some time for most people. Some people only had a few days, some had a couple weeks. Some lucky people had summer vacation in the true sense; school let out and they didn’t have to be back in class until late August.
I outdid them all. I was on summer vacation from June 21 until mid-October. And I have to say it was wonderful. Everyone should be able to take a few months off, if not every year, every other year. I got so much done this summer. I had more energy and being able to sleep until noon was Heaven on Earth.
Now, those of you who worship the Protestant work ethic will no doubt label me a bum. But I was working two jobs from August through December, and three jobs from mid-January through mid-April. I did this while I was anemic, and during spring semester I also took a class. And on top of that, I was thinking about taking a part-time on the weekends. Fortunately, sanity prevailed and I realized I needed at least two days during the week where I wasn’t working 10-12 hours a day.
So this summer, I flipped the bird to the work ethic. I cleaned, painted, did road trips, decorated, shopped, slept late, went to movies, sat out in my yard, exercised, swam and generally had a great time. Occasionally, I’d feel guilt pangs, but considering the time I worked as much as I did, I told myself “I deserve this.” At least one person thought my work frenzy was a way of avoiding grieving over my mother’s death, and yeah, she was right, up to a certain point. If I could have found a job that paid all my bills, I would have just worked that one job. But this is Fort Wayne, and apparently if you’re like me and have an unmarketable degree, good with words and can type decently, you are destined to work crap jobs and make less than $18,000 a year. Health insurance? HA!
So anyway, I took some time off and I’m glad I did. My room was an absolute disaster for years, and this summer, I was actually able to see some substantial floor space. I put up more shelving, since my house is home to the world’s most eclectic private library. I took time to give my bathroom a theme (it’s Canadian, no surprise there) and I was able to shop for appropriate decor and paint.
I also got a chance to be a kid again. Now that I look back on it, I should have taken piano lessons or horseback riding lessons. But I was plenty busy, and being able to sleep until a time of day when I could function was bliss. I could eat lunch alone if I wanted to. I could eat junk food and not have to worry about someone telling me how bad it was. I got to grow a ton of tomatoes, and read outside while my food cooked on the grill. I could look up through the silver maple branches and see the wonderful green leaves contrast with the blue sky. I drove into sunsets with my dog sitting on my lap. I was confounded by the daylight at 9 p.m.
But I was able to take time to look at things and enjoy life. Instead of rushing from crap job to crap job, I did what I wanted to do. This must be what it’s like to win the lottery. You can organize your time the way you like it, instead of being at someone else’s beck and call. I knew it couldn’t last, but it gave me time to realize what I wanted to accomplish in the immediate future, and what I wanted a few years down the line.
So I heartily recommend taking some time off. I think if we all had a little more free time, we wouldn’t be as paranoid, unhappy, stressed out, angry, chock full of acid indigestion and less likely to “go postal.”