Valentine’s Day was also my boyfriend’s birthday, and the first full day that I’ve taken off work in a long time. I still checked my e-mail every hour, brainstormed about my next business move and texted back and forth with a like-minded friend about newsletters and mailing lists, but for the most part, I didn’t work work.
I didn’t have that much fun, either, though. We just lounged and ate deliciously-bad-for-you food and watched movies. It was wonderful to him because his college professor days are usually spent running to and from classes and meeting with students, then heading to his pool league in the evening or basketball the next morning. Plus, New York was getting hit with the 400th blizzard of the season and the roads were treacherous – I know because I braved them to pick up a pizza. Staying in was necessary and Chris had a great “no responsibilities will cross my path” birthday. I, on the other hand, spent most of my time wondering if I’d ever pull myself out of my all work and no play makes Lindsay a dull girl funk. “I forget how to have fun, I think,” I said to him.
For the last four years, I’ve had two speeds: work hard and relax hard. There’s no room for play. There’s actual time – thanks to getting better at my day job, I don’t spend every waking moment working anymore. But mentally there still isn’t any space for entertainment. Even work that’s disguised as entertainment isn’t satisfying, if I get to it at all. Once a week, I debate packing up my laptop and working from a cafe for the afternoon. “The drive is a waste of time,” the angel on my shoulder says. Or would that be the devil? I can’t decide. If I’m not on my computer, I’m resting up so that I have the energy to work again. I’m reading magazines to get inspired to write articles. I’m ordering appetizers at a new bar so I can do research for my nightlife column. At my most leisurely, I’m discussing work with friends.
While I may be fun-loving, I haven’t been fun-doing since February of 2011, the month I moved out my former best friend’s apartment and had to recalibrate both my living situation and my social life. Although that era was filled with fun and play, I still didn’t see it as a necessity, which is why it so easily slipped from my grasp as life got much more responsibility-filled.
Pragmatism and functionality seem to have taken hold. Everything is for the practical greater good and the long run, the future me, the bank account. I can’t help but wonder how much of my functional activities are actually pointless (eight hours spent marketing a flash sale on my services didn’t result in one new client) and how many of the activities I deem pointless are actually functional (on days when I truly connect with someone on a personal level I book a new project within 24 hours).
Ironically, the one thing I fear about becoming a parent is that I’ll lose the adventurous, artistic, playful spark inside of me, the thing that makes me me. A spark that, until now, I mistakenly believed I’ve been fostering. A spark that’s actually more of a memory or a dream than reality. In my effort to never waste a moment, I’ve frittered away something much more important – my spirit.