I can remember a time in my life when boredom was a bad thing. In fact, I can very clearly remember referring to my dog-eared copy of a book called "101 Things To Do When You're Bored," a pre-summer vacation gift from my third grade teacher. Draw a sidewalk town with chalk, it suggested. Build a go-cart. Host a pet party with your pals. (I actually went through with that last one, much to the dismay of my parents.) Boredom occurred fairly frequently in my life as an eight year old, but like they say, it encouraged great outbursts of creativity. I spent my free time drawing, writing stories, playing "avocado tree tag," a game invented by the children who lived across the street. I climbed trees. Played in the dirt. Jumped rope. Did all the things you're supposed to do when you're a kid. It occurred to me recently that nowadays, it's a rarity and a luxury to be bored. My freelance schedule is such that I seldom have a moment when there's not something I could be doing. Last Friday night, when a group of my friends came over for dinner and a movie at my apartment, I typed away on my laptop through the entirety of "Saturday Night Fever." In the morning, I woke up early for a work call. After dinner in the city that night, I came home to write an article due the following day.
To be clear, I'm all too aware that I should not be complaining about having work to do. I am incredibly lucky to be busy. Two years ago, when I hadn't yet fully committed to pursuing a freelance career, I would have given anything to have work. But being in charge of my own schedule is a huge responsibility, and managing my time effectively is something I'm still getting the hang of. A night owl by nature, my ideal schedule would involve working between the hours of 8 PM and 3 AM; during the day, I'd run personal errands. However, if I'm ever going to see my friends---most of whom work in offices---writing at night won't make sense. Juggling work, play, and alone time, it turns out, is a quite a feat.
Sometimes I wonder whether things might be easier if I had a 9-5. I'm sure that in some ways, it would be. But that's just not the path I'm on at the moment. So while I often wish I had more free time---time to go out at night, watch a movie without having to work through it, go to dinner without having to rush home afterward (you know, things you're supposed to do when you're twenty-something)---I'm content to assume that one day in the not-too-distant future, I will. This period of my life---exhausting as it sometimes is---is just paying my dues. And that's something you're supposed to do when you're a twenty-something, too.