“Can you imagine not working?” my dad asked me yesterday. We’d just loaded hand tools, power tools back into my dad’s van, with its hardly latching doors and cracked windshield. We were driving away from the job, a home in great disrepair. Not a glamorous, forty-some thousand dollar kitchen remodel, but it was work.
“Well,” I said, “I’m working on my vacation—so, no.”
I’ve attempted to fill the vacuum of paid time off with remodeling, writing sports articles, writing a letter of recommendation for a professor, working on short stories (which I qualify as work), working on my wedding, working on a book review. Maybe taking a break isn’t an option. Maybe I don’t know how.
At the beginning of 2014, I did remodel with my dad, waiting for my last semester to start. I forget the job, but I remember it was cold.
Back at school, I stepped into sixteen credit hours as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, president of the French club, and a teaching assistant in Intro to Creative Writing. Then I volunteered to act for a friend’s directing project. I’m not trying to brag… even if that’s exactly what I’m doing.What I mean to say is: Work is important to me.
If I had to sum up my year in one word, that would be it. Work.
Even my vacation to Québec felt like work. Speaking in a foreign language (however poorly), hiking up a mountain, walking across a city, and driving 16 hours in one day aren’t for the feint of heart. It paid off: My Tim Horton’s vocabulary is now impeccable.
It’s not that I really want to work. Whether on vacation, in school, or working at my new job, I’ve had one Holy Grail. All year, I’ve wanted to sit down and read a book straight through. Not look at my phone or computer, just be still, calm, and read.
Although I value hard work, and feel that anything worth doing isn’t easy, it makes me sad sometimes that I overload my schedule, that I can’t relax. Maybe Chill or Read will be my word next year. Maybe not. But I hope that after I write my freelance articles this afternoon and tomorrow, after the hubbub of the New Year but before I go back to work on Jan. 5, I will sit down and read that one book. Cover to cover.