Housing,  Personal

How I Spent My Day Off

I set my alarm bright and early. I had plans to visit the library book sale and have lunch with a friend before applying at some local factories so I wanted to get all of my daily tasks completed. That way, when I arrived home after lunch I could dedicate the rest of my afternoon to decimating the jungle in my back yard. My days off may be split up this week but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t get stuff done.

I knocked out my daily tasks, washing loads of laundry as I worked while I waited for my friend to awaken so we could head out.

By 10am it became obvious that my friend had decided to sleep in. I couldn’t blame her; she works more hours at her public job than I do so I knew that she needed the rest.

However, I had things I wanted to accomplish. I needed to have everything done by early afternoon in order to tackle the back yard since the chants of “Feed me Seymour!” were starting to get annoying.

Did I want to be the friend who blows up someone’s phone because they’re exhausted and overslept?

No, I did not.

I chuckled. She needed her rest; I needed to get stuff done. Lunch and job hunting could wait for another day, especially since I’m in no hurry to start working full-time. The money might be nice but it’s not essential since I’ve got money left over to invest each month even at my current wage.

Rather than bother her I grabbed my shopping bags and headed to the library.

I walked into the room filled with books and froze. Do I really need more books? I asked myself. I have quite a stack at home that I’ve yet to read. Even worse, many of the business and financial titles I’ve encountered lately hadn’t exactly been written for cheapskates like me. I certainly didn’t want to acquire more fiction; I’ve got quite the stack waiting to be read at home already.

I do not want to be the woman who accumulates stuff for the sake of accumulation. I may not be a minimalist but I am not a hoarder.

Heavy on my mind was the fact that every dollar I manage to keep brings me that much closer to financial freedom. With a 10% dividend, every dollar I invest equates to ten cents in annual income a year.

Eighty dollars invested in this way brings me an hour’s wage closer to my goal. Did I really want to spend the $50 I’d budgeted for the book sale or did I want my freedom more?

The voices in my head were unanimous: freedom was much more important than acquiring more books.

I couldn’t even look at the selections. My heart wouldn’t let me. You’ve got enough, my brain kept screaming.

I left that book sale without purchasing a single title.

Disquieted at the sudden change of heart, I wandered around town a bit to think. It wasn’t like me to pass up the offer to acquire inexpensive books but I’d noticed myself doing that more and more lately. I barely even visit the freebie section at the library these days.

Why was that? Was it just because I had an assortment of books already, or was there something deeper at work? I ignored the scenery as I pondered this.

I realized that my time is limited. There are only 24 hours in a day; I have to spend at least eight of those sleeping in order to function properly. That gives me 16 hours each day to work a public job, take care of my home, socialize with family and friends, and work towards my goals. I’ve reached my limit when it comes to juggling everything. Should I take a full-time job I will be forced to make cutbacks in other areas of my life.

According to the Pareto Principle, 20% of our efforts produce 80% of the results. If I selected the books I choose to read more carefully I would not only learn more, I could save time as a result. It might cost more to acquire the individual books but the time savings would be immense.

The goal is to learn, not just to spend my days reading, after all. If I spent less time reading things that aren’t relevant to my objectives, I would have more time to not only work on improving my home but to rest as well.

Considering how many nights I’ve face-planted into my keyboard lately, rest is something I desperately need.

It felt odd and uncomfortable to realize that, in a year’s time, I’ve managed to grow beyond the basic financial texts that I’ve been able to acquire locally. It felt odd to realize that I could no longer pick up just any old book and learn from it.

It felt really odd to realize that I had absolutely no desire to even look through the offerings at the library book sale and to know that I needed to thin down my current collection to narrow my focus and conserve my time.

I returned home, mind filled with my recent epiphany as I ate my lunch. I didn’t even bother to wash the dishes. I piled them into the sink, sat down, and began to share my thoughts with my journal.

My friend showed up at my door while I was writing. I’d been so wrapped up in my thoughts that I hadn’t realized she’d been messaging me. While she was apologetic about oversleeping, she was ready to grab lunch and go job hunting finally.

I looked at the clock. It was one in the afternoon. I still had that back yard to tackle and despite everything I was still on schedule to get it done.

I no longer had time to go job hunting, however. I explained to her that I had arranged my schedule so that we would have been done by that point. I had to start working on my yard. It wasn’t going to mow itself. With the current rain forecast and my public job schedule, I had to get it done.

I’m not certain if she was more upset at me or herself but she settled down at my kitchen table, went online, and started filling out job applications. I puttered around the house a bit, working on my laundry as I offered her lunch. She refused so I went back to work. I headed out back and started mowing.

“You need to sit down and take a break,” she counseled when I paused to catch my breath.

“If I sit down I won’t get back up,” I replied bluntly. “Sitting on my ass isn’t going to get this yard done. I am getting this yard done today, period.”

I got it done.

I wondered what thoughts were going through my friend’s head as she left once I’d finished mowing. Was she upset that I’d insisted upon keeping to my schedule? Was she angry that I had plans for my life, plans to improve my home and regain my freedom? Was she upset at the fact that I wouldn’t just drop everything I’d had planned for the remainder of the day to go hang out and apply for some jobs after she’d overslept?

Maybe she thought I was being a jerk?

I honestly don’t know. I do know that I wasn’t trying to be rude; I simply did not have the luxury of procrastinating.

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain hitting my rooftop. I had made a sound decision the day before; my yard would have gotten completely out of control if I had delayed.

Time to get back to work.

2 Comments

  • Linda Sand

    Yesterday I read a comment that went something like, “Don’t let other people’s dysfunction trigger yours.” Your decision to stick to your schedule reminded me of that. Good for you!