Do you ever have one of those days when you just can’t go to work, so you take what we used to call (and probably still do, I assume) a “mental health” day?
I had one of those days today. Yes, even though I’m not actually working, I took a day off from looking for work.
It wasn’t planned. I was preparing to begin my usual daily unemployment tasks – looking for jobs, applying for jobs, following up on job applications and interviews – when suddenly a perverse impulse overtook me. I felt overwhelmingly weary of conscientiously doing what I’m “supposed” to do, of diligently doing what “should” be done, day after day after day.
I'm not going to do this today, I decided. Why should I? After all, I rationalized to myself, I’ve been doing everything the “right” way for two years now, and where has it gotten me? One day off won’t make any difference to my job search. I figured I could afford to be “bad” for 24 hours. I wanted – needed – to say, the heck with all this! I’m taking the day off.
And so I did. And it was wonderful.
The first thing I did was check my DVR to see how many episodes of “House” I’d recorded but never watched. There were six of them! I made a cup of tea, settled in on the couch with my dog and a cat and watched three episodes in a row. This felt amazingly therapeutic!
You armchair psychologists out there are probably recognizing that I’ve got a bad case of needing to be a “good girl” and feeling guilty if I’m not. Too many thoughts that begin with “I should be…” or “I’m supposed to…” are forever swirling around in my head. Don’t try to cure me – it’s a chronic condition, but at least I’m aware of it and I definitely don’t let it prevent me from enjoying life.
Anyway, I felt so bad (in a good way) engrossed in three hours of TV in the middle of a work day. When it was close to dinnertime, I decided that I didn’t feel like cooking a nice home-cooked meal today (as I usually do). I informed my son that we could have either leftovers or pizza (delivered). Forty minutes later, the doorbell rang and dinner was served by a nice young man with hot pepperoni and mushroom pizzas.
If only I'd had some bon bons in the house! I would have lived my dream to put my feet up and lazily munch a few.
Why is it that being “irresponsible,” on occasion, feels so healthy?
I’m sure it’s for the same reason that we take vacations: because we’re tired. We shake off our regular everyday responsibilities for a week or two in order to refresh and renew ourselves. Being hard-working and dependable all the time can be very draining. Once in a while, you just have to goof off. You need to. Otherwise it’s just non-stop pressure to perform, to accomplish, to achieve, to succeed, to do.
Today, I needed to do nothing but watch “House,” eat pizza and write this blog post. Even though I’m not working, I needed a break from the constant strain of my two-year-long campaign to find work. It was good for me and I feel much better now, less burdened.
And tomorrow, I’ll be back in the hunt.