I’m on vacation this week and I’m actually enjoying it. What changed? Don’t I despise my vacations? What is so damn different about this week than the other pile of weeks over the past 15 years that I’ve hated so much? I think there’s a bunch of reasons for this and it’s not down to one single thing I’ve ‘cracked’ about how to enjoy a vacation week.
Firstly, I’m sober. Being an alcoholic saps your motivation – sure you’re drunk and ready to take on the world but the following day is recuperating with a hangover – and this helps somewhat, but maybe not as much as you’d think. I still struggle with motivation and waking up at a non-embarrassing time but that’s thanks to another addiction: coffee. Same idea in a way. Coffee jacks you just so the next morning your body, lacking caffeine, has no idea how to do anything until you have more coffee. Seriously it takes me until about 2 or 3 p.m. until I feel functional, but let’s not forget how alcohol would take me out for the entire following day (more if you do the whole ‘more alcohol cures your hangover!’ thing). I’ll take my coffee addiction over alcoholism any day!
Secondly, Fuck Work. I’ve bitched a little about it but work is kind of a stressful pile of shit currently. People are literally hitting planes on the night shift and while this doesn’t concern us directly it sure does have management worked up. My boss is being shit on by her boss, a guy who periodically observes us throughout the week, just lurking around trying to catch you fucking up the methods or cutting corners. I hate being watched and any confidence at supervising I’m able to scrounge up goes bye-bye as soon as Full Time Supervisor Jacob starts lurking around. Then I obviously fuck something up and have him furrowing his eyebrows furiously at me. Nothing too egregious, but a bunch of, “Jeremy, I noticed you didn’t do [thing] so, you know, we need to make sure we…”
My boss is being shit on and as the adage goes, “Shit rolls downhill.” Luckily I spared my people from my own shit and mostly bitch and whine to them about how everyone is on my ass and that if I’d be left alone I’d be a much more effective supervisor. No one likes to be nagged at. I’ll tell them, “Please follow the methods because I don’t want anyone else on my ass. I know, ‘fuck the methods,’ they’re dumb and kinda useless sometimes, but follow them for me. Thanks guys!”
Another supervisor was walked out a few weeks ago due to misloading an airplane. The story is much more complicated than that but good enough for a blog post. She wasn’t fired and was only off for a few days but her mood is…awful. She’s checked out from work. She doesn’t care. She hates her job. Good on her for not being a company shill but it’s bad seeing someone who is such a talented worker just give up after a mistake, even if it was a serious one. Her and our boss are constantly at each other’s throats in a very tense, passive-aggressive way. It’s awful to be around. Work just isn’t as fun as it used to be. It feels like work now. Oh, woe is me!
I’m also not very good at distancing myself from work. It’s 6:40 p.m. and past me would be wondering what everyone is doing at work. Wondering how the day is going. Wondering how everyone is holding up in the heat today. This week, no, not at all. I’m still mildly curious at how they’re all doing, sure, but I’m not dwelling on it like I’m missing something. My big breakthrough this week was turning off notifications to our work’s GroupMe chat. Even though the app is still installed and all it would take is a single click to check in on things I haven’t; the notifications are always what bring me to an app and I’m surprised how much disabling them has helped me enjoy my vacation.
All of that was a long way of saying, “I don’t like work currently and I need a break from the place.”
Previous vacations were mostly me sitting around antsy and bored because I’m not good at dictating what I do with my own time. I’m great at work because it’s something I have to do and people will yell at me if I miss or I’m late. As you’d expect, this is how I was at school as well, about the best student ever! But that only works at work or at school. Given free time, I don’t know what to do with it. Like, shit, it’s up to me to decide how to spend my time and figure out what I want to do? Damn, I just want to do what everyone else wants me to do; I can’t think for myself.
And what do I want to do? Nothing really, expect for build a fucking shed. I’ve spent the past three days building my shed from scratch and it’s about the most fulfilling thing I’ve done in a very long time. It’s work, but it’s satisfying work. It’s not easy and sometimes I’ve been wondering why the hell I’m building a massive shed without much reason but I shoot those ideas down quickly. I don’t have much else to put my time towards, the shed has been on my mind consistently the past three months, and I need to not coward out when the nihilism starts creeping in. If this shed is pointless along with everything else so I might as well finish the damn thing! I’m seeing this damn shed through to completion and I’m going to bask in the sense of accomplishment that I love so much and don’t do enough to chase down.
In short: I have a project and goal to work towards. The shed being a ‘big project’ doesn’t hurt either; it’s not something I can knock out in a day, say Whelp, I did it! and then go right back to being bored. This project will probably take more than a week and that’s fine, I’m content with working on it when I have the time/motivation even if ‘time is of the essence’ is still pushing me forward.
Among other projects, that is. I still have plenty of time to fuck around at home, more time to decide on my own what to fill it with, and I’m doing slightly better here as well. The shed is my Big Goal and since I’m making progress on that I’m much more willing to piss away time relaxing. Stardew Valley? Elden Ring? Yes, I’ll play a few hours because I worked outside building that damn shed and I’ve earned the right to be lazy now! And wouldn’t ya know games don’t feel like a chore or a waste of time when you use them to reward yourself.
I doubt anyone cares what I’m doing with my vacation but I’m proud of myself. I feel like I’m making actual progress and growing somewhat, knocking out a couple of my tiny flaws on the way, and actually enjoying my time away from UPS. Sure, “Who the hell doesn’t like vacations?” you’re probably wondering, but I don’t like vacations! Or at least I didn’t used to like vacations. But I do now and dammit I’m proud of that fact! It feels like I’ve unlocked some obvious secret to life that I’ve been too clueless to understand, even if everyone else gets it, until now.