Friday, Be My Friend

I have a different relationship with Friday than most people do. For almost everyone I know and everyone on the internet (judging by the memes), Friday is a day of relief. The break from work is just around the corner. The end is in sight. Whether the day is full of productivity and a push to get lots of things done or mainly goofing off on the internet, in a few hours they all have until Monday morning to live life, doing whatever non-work-related things they want to/can do.

My thoughts on Friday are a little different. Instead of being glad the weekend is here, I think, “It’s Friday already? How did another week pass and I’ve still gotten nothing done? Before long it’ll be the end of the month. Time just keeps passing and nothing ever changes. Why can’t I just have a little time to breathe?” It doesn’t help that there is always some bill looming.

If I had been able to stick to a regular schedule in my work, it might be different. But usually, the weekend comes around and it’s just the same as any other day to me–I have to get as much work done as I can manage. I’m not such a fan of a “regular schedule,” but it would certain help in changing my Fridays. Of course, I also don’t get that sense of dread or just general grumpiness other people experience on Sunday evening, knowing that they have to return to the office the next morning. So it’s a trade-off.

I have to say, though, I don’t really like being the one person wishing everyone else would stop being so happy about Friday nights.

Losing Summer

It is now the first day of fall. I noticed how perfect the weather was today when I went out to get my groceries. The sun shone brightly but the air was cool. A few of the trees on my street have already started to change. THIS is the best of weather.

The turn of August to September saw a flare-up of oppressive heat, but that seems to be the last surge of summer. It’s cooling off again; it seems the season is ready to accept defeat. As usual I had that moment of regret for all the days I didn’t spend at the beach, and having only sat outside at a restaurant with friends or family a few times, despite walking by such patios constantly. I barely wore sandals and I spent far too many days inside.

Every year now, I find a moment to complain about how summer is not very exciting as an adult. When you’re a kid you get the time off from school, and depending on your circumstances, your parents will take you somewhere for a vacation (even if it’s just a two hour drive to a town in the same state). For the rest of the summer you read, you spend time with friends, you hang out in someone’s pool (I always knew someone with a pool). You eat a lot of ice cream, go to barbecues, and don’t have to wake up early.

Then you start to get older. For most people, summer jobs start somewhere in the mid to late teens. Some start much earlier and a few won’t have jobs until after they graduate from college–but those will probably spend the summers volunteering or studying. (This story does not include those people who never have to work. I have no frame of reference to talk about them.) Suddenly, you don’t have all these days off anymore. Teenagers’ jobs are often part-time, so although they sacrifice some of their free days, they still have quite a lot of time to eat ice cream and hang out in their friends’ pools.

But then you enter the “real” world. You have a full time job, or two or three part time jobs, and you don’t have the time to enjoy the beach or spend a day wandering around town with your friends. You have responsibilities instead. If you do have the time to do these things whenever you want, chances are you don’t have the money. Much of your summer free-time goes to waste lamenting that you’ll barely be able to pay your bills this month, so instead of going to the beach, you scour Craigslist for a new job. Gone are the days of being free to enjoy the summertime. Just like they said it would, adulthood sucked away all the fun (I don’t know who “they” are exactly).

As summer becomes just another part of the year with the same schedule, the same stress, and the same lack of time, we long for the time when summer actually meant something more than just wondering what the hell you can wear that won’t cause you to die of heatstroke on the way to/in the office.

 

When you think about it, though, what exactly are we losing? Think back to being a kid during the summer. Really think. My memories of youthful summers are getting a little vague and fragmented at this point, but I’m fairly certain that I ended up bored and ready for summer to be over somewhere around the beginning of August. If I could go back and talk to my ten-year-old self, I’d say “Find something to do and be grateful for your lack of stress.” But unfortunately, hindsight never benefits us. I was always pretty eager to go back to school, even excited.

Of course, I got sick of being back at school after two weeks, instead of two months. I think I just liked the change, the feeling that things were moving forward. New teacher, classroom, notebooks, clothes. Sometimes new friends.

Leisurely summers feel like a story someone told me, rather than anything that really happened. Maybe I block them out because they make me feel guilty for not doing more with my free time when I had so much of it. Of course, I was a kid then, and kids don’t need to be responsible for “getting things done.” I think the problem is that now I know what I would do if I could spend my time how I chose without having to worry about adult things. I’ve felt like there could be so much art, music, friendship, love, etc. in my life, if only I had enough time.

An Unnecessary Post

Just now, my life is feeling very bland. I’m not devoid of creative inspiration for writing, but I don’t feel a particular urge to create. I want to spend time with my friends, do something fun, exciting–but I also want to just have time alone, possibly lying in bed staring at the ceiling while listening to music.* I want to get lost in reading.

I have two thoughts on this. One is that my creative energy needs time to build up. None of our creative wells are quite bottomless, and if it hasn’t rained enough lately, they’re bound to be very low.

My other thought is that I’ve become engulfed in necessity (chores, bills, etc.), and the energy that requires just puts me in a mindset that is not conducive to writing.

From my past experience, I have to advise myself that the best way to fix this is to just start writing something.

But I need to complete this editing work first. And many other more “necessary” things.

But what could be more necessary to a writer than writing?

I am awash in dilemmas of adulthood.

 

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*Current music selection would probably be Deftones, Oh Land, or something very new age/experimental with no vocals.

Five Things Friday: January 17, 2014

Three creative things I want to do RIGHT NOW. But seriously, literally right now.

1. Write for a really large block of time and finish at least one short story (that’s been in the works for a pretty long time now). In addition, make some progress on the novel I was writing that I was going to work on a bit in December, and then didn’t because I’m just too lazy to ever be productive.

2. Get paints and brushes and DIY the cardboard boxes I use as storage bins so that my room can be pretty and not just a complete mess.

3. Totally reorganize my room. It doesn’t sound like a “creative” thing, but it would have to be to figure out how to make everything fit nicely in my room.

Two reasons I’m sure I won’t do these things.

1. Chores and errands and adult things like that. It’s often tempting to forego responsibility for awesomeness, but at some point the concept was ingrained in me that if you do that you end up with a mess that’s harder to deal with later. So I try. Sort of. But I also waste a lot of time watching tv shows, so what’s the real problem here?

2. Currently editing the longest manuscript ever.  EVER. Aside from, like, encyclopedias or whatever. And because of time and deadlines and stuff, I’m going to have to work quite a bit this weekend, because otherwise we might have problems.

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It’s 2014! When you have fewer life changes, it feels like time is just passing you by and making you older. I HATE it. I feel so stuck right now. Not fun. What’s my goal? Where’s my end point? I need these things in order to actually function.

First five things Friday of the year–and the first one for a few weeks. I remember my original intention to do this every week, somehow missing the fact that Friday nights are usually spent hanging out with friends and way too tired out from the week to have clever, coherent thoughts… I am the tiredest.

I’m having major life issues right now–mostly, realizing that I don’t think the skills from my current job are really transferable to any other jobs, which is something that’s probably going to work against me in the future. Unfortunately,  further details can’t really be given on the internet, so I guess I’ll just have to be vague.

My birthday is approaching. I’m about to be 27. It’s both still young and too old. You know what? I blame the internet. If I didn’t hear so many stories about people who are super successful in their 20s, I’d probably be much more ok with where I am in life. (Or at least marginally more ok with it…)

I think that I sound awfully boring right now. It’s so bad that I almost want to delete this whole post and not blog at all right now, but, well, why not.

Five Things Friday: December 6, 2013

I just remembered about this… I thought I might just do it tomorrow morning, but then I realized I wasn’t going to do it, most likely, if I waited, and I can’t miss the first five things of December! I am really into Christmas this year, much more than last year… I think that I was a bit depressed last December, most of the month, or something. I was all artistic and thoughtful in my last post (which you should read if you haven’t yet), so right now I’m just going to vomit some words through my keyboard (gross), because it can be very hard for me to be thoughtful when I want to sleep. It’s almost 1, and I work a “normal” 9-5 schedule, so I shouldn’t have to explain that I’m tired. Isn’t everyone tired on Friday night? 

Five things I must do this December: 

1) Make eggnog cupcakes. I plan to do this tomorrow, that is, Saturday. Check out my food/life blog, linked on the sidebar (I think), for a post about that. I will almost certainly make one. 

2) Film three Christmas-related videos for my youtube channel. I did make one, but we’ll see how the rest of the month goes. I’m trying to stay motivated to actually do things. 

3) Continue writing in some sort of semi-regular fashion. Instead of never. I have a nice idea for a short story that will be wintery. It’s a simple concept so I think it should be pretty easy to write a draft that I am willing to let people read…

4) Eat many vegetables: this is not me going on a diet or denying myself anything. This is in fact me craving healthy food and wanting to nourish my body with fresh foods, nutrients, vitamins, etc. 

5) Work hard, but also relax. 

Bonus: Bettie Page Reveals All, a new documentary film, is going to be at the Coolidge theater next weekend. I really want to see it, but it’s a late movie, so it will depend on how my schedule works out in general, and how tired I am.

7) Sleep more, but wake up on time.  

No-nowrimo Recap and Review

Here we are, at last. November both dragged and flew by. My non-nanowrimo deadline has passed. How did I do? Well…

With a goal of 30,000 for the month, it was much more likely than the goal of 50k for the month, and would hardly have been less complete of a work (as discussed before, 50,000 words is not ever long enough to be a novel. Maybe once… a novella at best).

I started off pretty good, the first few days, and then, as always, I got caught up in work. I was too stressed about getting things done to channel any of my energy to writing. That’s my go-to excuse lately, but it’s true. I might have been able to do more over Thanksgiving, but it turns out being on vacation and doing a bunch of family stuff is not always the most conducive frame for writing productively. I finally managed to do a little bit of work on the novel I switched to last night.

My total was about 8500 words. True, it’s not really anywhere near my goal. Still it’s something. Last year I had a goal of just writing any amount every day (hint: specific goals are a lot more motivating), and I doubt I even made 1000 words, which means I did at least ten times better, in terms of words written, this time. That’s a pretty good improvement: if I do only five to six times more next time I attempt such a goal, I’ll be rolling in pages.

Not to mention that getting into the story last night makes it feel more likely that I’ll carry some writing motivation into December.

Thanksgiving itself was great, and maybe I’ll write about making cranberry sauce on the other blog. The pumpkin pie was excellent as well, and completely doused with whipped cream. Heh…

What to do now? Back to work tomorrow. Need to work hard, because December is at least as busy, with Christmas, as November is. I’ll try not to overspend on groceries so that I can reasonably afford gifts. Most of my food money goes toward coffee, and coffee-related items. As for now, I think I’m going to use this 50% off Starbucks coupon (today only), work out a little, and try to get through more of Just Kids–a very good and interesting book so far.

Days of… Summer?

Technically it’s still summer for a few more weeks, but it’s already starting to feel like fall. Leaves are starting to change and pumpkin lattes will be popping up in cafes across the city.

If you follow this blog you will be familiar with my Friday posts–and you may have noticed that I didn’t do it this week. It’s not the first one I’ve missed since starting the posts, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. It’s the timing that’s the thing, you see. If I don’t do it on Friday I still might first thing Saturday morning, when I’m gearing up for all the sitting around I plan to do that day. Once Saturday is happening, though, I don’t want to go back to Friday. So, there we are.

Student arrival and moving day in Boston has happened (/is still happening). I don’t know whether I’ll be able to adjust to all the extra people around during these months. My favorite cafe will probably be crowded every time I try to go there before work, now, and while I think that’s great for them, it doesn’t work out so well for me. I don’t know whether I can be happy about it. However, they, like everyone else, will have their pumpkin lattes and in a few more months, the amazing red chili tea lattes. I’ll be there no matter how crowded it is (within reason).

I feel like I should have more to say, given how infrequently I post, but my brain is just mush, generally speaking. I’m trying to work out my time so that I can find more time to write, but I’ve been taking work home fairly often lately. I do have to spend some time away from the computer, after all…

I hope that before I feel too old to make any changes in my life, I’ll figure out how to get the things I want in life. So far, I’ve had twenty-six years to try and haven’t managed it, so I don’t really feel that optimistic about it.

To end on a positive note, I do love fall. The changing of seasons is really my favorite part of it all, but if I had to pick a favorite season, fall would be it. After sweating through the previous months, I finally get to cool off, break out my sweaters, tall socks, scarves, and boots, without looking like an awkward summer-hater or sweating my ass off. And I won’t lie, I love the pumpkin.