The ironic luxury of time

I hate when people ask me how I’m enjoying my time off.  It’s frustrating to not be able to work.  This really isn’t like a vacation.  I feel lousy a lot, so I probably have no more “good” free hours than a person who works full time.  In fact, some days I have a lot fewer.

That said, I really do appreciate having a more open schedule.  On the days I feel lousy, I hate that I’m “losing” hours.  It feels like a waste, but since I can’t help it, I just try to remember that I will have more time tomorrow, and the next day, and next week.  I will try to make my time as meaningful as possible.  Sometimes that will work, sometimes it won’t, and I just have to accept that.

On both  the good days and the bad days, I’ve found that having a more open schedule can really reduce stress.  Yesterday was a good example.  After a quiet morning at home mostly spent reading, and then lunch, left to go to the library.  I could have driven.  It would have been faster.  I also would have felt my blood pressure rise as I dealt with red lights, bad drivers, rude pedestrians, and parking problems both at the library and later when I came home.  Instead, I took the bus.  Sure, taking the bus took a lot longer (especially since I missed a bus by only a minute on each end) but it had a lot of benefits: I didn’t have to deal with driving or parking, I got fresh air while I waited for it, and I got some exercise.  Both on the way and on the way back, I got some extra exercise by walking one stop further than I had to.  I skipped the closer stop, and went one more.  This was perfect.  If I had been in a rush, I probably would have had to deal with the stress of driving.

The evening wasn’t so great.  I came home feeling really good, and I was thrilled.  I made dinner and had a whole bunch of things I wanted to do (knowing of course that I’d probably only do a few of them, but it was still exciting.)  Almost as soon as I started eating, I felt sick.  Normally the nausea hits an hour or two after eating, so this was odd.  It felt different too.  This mostly meant that I didn’t know what to expect.  I put the food away and left the dishes for later.  After many trips to the bathroom and some Pepto, I finally snuggled under a blanket and watched a movie.  I was upset that I had had another episode of nausea after almost two weeks without one – so much for that winning streak.  But I wasn’t upset about the lost evening.  Nothing I had planned was an emergency, so I knew it could all wait until I had more free time.  That could be in a few days, or maybe next week.  It didn’t matter.  I’d find the time.

Having a more flexible schedule is making a huge difference these days.  Of course, if I was working full time it would be because I was feeling better, and if I felt well, I wouldn’t need such a flexible schedule.  Great.  (Did you notice the sarcasm there?)

There’s nothing I can do to change my situation, beyond what I’m already doing.  So as long as I’m stuck in it, I’ll try to make the most of it.  I’ll use my flexible time the best that I can.  I just hope I don’t lose too much more of it to nausea… that’s awfully unpleasant.

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