After an ugly round of opposing shifts at work, I was granted a glorious treat: three days off IN A ROW. If you do shiftwork, you realize this hardly ever happens. I had just finished a two-week run of seven closing shifts, two days off, followed by seven opening shifts. Three days off was basically heaven.
After work on Saturday, I packed my tastefully retro-styled Tracker tote with the essentials (change of clothes, Jitterbug Perfume, slippers, pajamas, toothbrush, etc.) and hopped on the GO train to Mississauga to spend the weekend with my sister.
She just moved to a fabulous three bedroom apartment with her boyfriend and the place is really beginning to come together. She paints so her apartment is filled with her original artwork and she’s got a massive leather-esque sofa I covet. We stopped at a Starbucks on the way to her house and I caffeinated myself. We spent the night hanging out watching weird documentaries about alien encounters on TV and telling each other ghost stories like we did when we were kids.
We found time to sing, too. All kinds of cover songs. I strummed my sister’s Martin guitar enthusiastically and we both sang at the top of our lungs. I gave her a couple of tips on playing Pink’s “F*ckin’ Perfect” and we had some good laughs.
It was a lot like hitting the reset button on my life.
I’ve been a workaholic for as long as I can remember. I’ve always stressed about paying my bills on time and having enough money in my account to live on. Growing up poor taught me the importance of a budget and living within your means. As I got older this translated into a driving need to work insane amounts of hours in case of a rainy day. I spent most of my time between the ages of 23 – 24 at work. I remember one paycheck was gigantic because I had worked 100 hours in a two week period.
I’ve slowed down considerably, but the habit is still there. The voice in the back of my mind that tells me I need to constantly be busy.
I’m 25 now and I’m tired. I’m tired of the chase, tired of overworking myself because I’m paranoid I won’t have enough. What’s enough anyway? When I moved in with my mother, I had already lost everything. All my prized possessions are buried under at least three feet of other people’s garbage, languishing in a landfill somewhere. While some people can’t fathom losing all tangible evidence of their memories, I relish it.
It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
I like nice things and I tend to have expensive taste. “Beer pockets and champagne taste,” as my boyfriend likes to say. I’m hungry for a deal, always, and if I can find something high-end and affordable, I long for it. But it’s not important to me. My memories are what’s important. My family and friends. Having wonderful experiences, seeing new things, learning new things every day. I find myself worrying less about having a nest egg because no matter how many times I fall, I always seem to end up back on my feet sooner or later.
I want more time. I want more time for myself and for the people I love. I want to spend more of my time on earth doing the things that make me happy because when I inevitably find myself on my deathbed, I want to look back and say, “You did well.” I don’t want to be one of those people wishing I had spent less time with my nose to the grindstone and more time with my nose in the roses.
And since this is my life and I’m the only one responsible for its outcome, that’s just what I intend to do. I don’t care about being rich, I care about being happy, and I’m finally beginning to realize my happiness is not determined by the number at the bottom of my bank statement.
That’s why I’m going to actually take a vacation this year. The hours I’ve saved up aren’t going to be pissed away, I’m going to use them to take a reprieve from my own life. I’m going to spend the time with my loved ones and use it to create. My boyfriend put it best when he said, “When you’re not making music or writing, you’re depressed.” Sometimes we don’t even notice we’re unhappy and it takes someone else to point it out to us. I’m putting an end to that, starting right now.
And I’m hoping you’ll take that journey with me.