Life of Leisure

Well, Boundless just got a bit more international, because I am writing this from Canada! I graduated from seminary a week and a half ago, and then my boyfriend and I drove the 20 hours to Red Deer, Alberta, where he lives. I’m up here for the summer so that we can experience some day-to-day living after dating long distance for the past few months.

My boyfriend teaches high school, and Canadians go to school until the end of June. That means that he’s at work during the day, and I am not. I just spent the last three years doing an intense master’s program and plenty of freelance to help support me through school. I often went to school during the day and did my writing work at night and on weekends. Earlier this year as I was studying for my comprehensive exams and writing my thesis, I remember wishing I could take one day off per week. Just one day with no work would have felt wonderful. (And, yes, I know I probably should have been taking a Sabbath no matter what. But I wasn’t.) So, my past few years have been ridiculously busy.

Then I graduated. My life immediately went from too much to barely anything. I am in Canada right now, and I don’t have a job. I have a bit of freelance work, but my deadlines feel light years away. (If you hear of any freelance, let me know. A girl’s got to pay back her grad school loans.) I don’t have many friends up here, and most of the people I do know work during the day. So far, I have no community or church obligations, and certainly no Greek homework. I’m not quite sure how to feel about it all.

On the one hand, I kind of like this restful life. I like sleeping in and not having to commit to being anywhere by a certain time. It’s late morning right now, and I’m still in sweatpants and sipping my coffee. I’ll probably go for a walk in a bit and think about what I might make us for dinner tonight. I have a few new books to read, and Netflix is just a click away. This no-pressure life is kind of nice. But at the same time, I can see this aimless way of life getting boring really soon. As much as I complain about being busy, there’s something in me that likes having a schedule, that thrives when there’s a lot to do. During school, I constantly longed for free days, but when I got them, I felt like I should be doing something. And that is some of what I am feeling right now. I’m not bored yet. I kind of like this freedom and relaxation. But even though it’s just been a week, I already feel a bit guilty for all the rest I’m getting. I feel pressure to do something. I feel guilty without a busy life. I think anyone who sees me taking a leisurely walk at 2 p.m. might wonder why I’m not at work, why I’m lazy, why I’m so irresponsible.

This summer is unusual. I will likely never have another one like it, with so much freedom and time to rest. I should probably take advantage of it, and appreciate the fact that the Lord has given me time to enjoy things. To read, to pray, to exercise, to plan, to explore with time and energy that is not usually afforded to me. That is probably how I should view this summer. But I can already tell that I’m going to have a hard time doing that. There is something in me — probably pride — that tells me I should be seen as someone who is always looking busy and ambitious.

So, what do you all think? How should I tackle my summer? How do you feel when you have free time — do you enjoy it or feel restless?