My work for the winter season is done. I am not scheduled for any more paid employment until late July. The blank canvas of the next few months is stretched out before me. The empty space is exciting, but also intimidating.
The life that I am currently living allows me to have large blocks of unscheduled time sandwiched between intense periods of work. When I am in the midst of working, I long for these periods, thinking about all the things I hope to do and accomplish while I am gainfully unemployed. But once my mini-retirements begin, I often find myself paralyzed by the amount of freedom I suddenly have inherited. My choices about what to do with my time seem limitless to the point of being overwhelming. The blank canvas stares back at me, demanding that I do something with it.
I have been employed in situations where I worried that I was wasting my time by being there. But what I have learned is that I can just as easily feel this way while on my sabbaticals. I have a need to find purpose and meaning in my day, and this can be difficult both within and outside of the work that I do.
So what will I do with this blank canvas? Will I paint a picture I can be proud of, or will I look back at it and see only a bunch of random, disconnected splotches of color? Will I do something that will provide me with a sense of purpose, or will I simply flitter away the time doing things that will leave no lasting impression on myself or anyone else? It is up to me to decide.
I hope I choose wisely.