Unexpected result of mission life:
I no longer have any ability to “chill.” Can’t do it.
Please allow me to illustrate:
I came home from New Jersey and discovered myself in a world of comfort: free room and board, no responsibilities, a few friends, and not a care in the world. No church calling. No job. No pressing need for income. And a family who had missed me enough that they wanted nothing more than to spoil me rotten.
I found a job within three weeks, because I couldn’t stand the extra time.
My job is far from stressful. I love my coworkers, I love the students, and I’m rather competent at everything I need to do, so the work isn’t hard. Also, I’m usually home by 3:30pm. Also, I get Fridays off, so I have a three-day weekend. Also, I get a free massage every week. Nice!
The free time was killing me. I signed up for an online history course forthwith, met with my history counselor at BYU, got my fall and winter semesters planned out toward graduation, and budgeted out the remainder of the summer to ensure I would be able to pay tuition.
The history course isn’t really that hard. It’s a simple American history course required for most majors, and the assignments and reading aren’t that difficult…. So I decided to finish it twice as fast and sign up for another history course – which I’ll be starting next week.
The main problem here is that I’m just not used to having any free time at all. On the mission, free time was a bad sign. It meant that I hadn’t planned the day out well enough the night before. And if I did get free time, it meant I needed to find something productive to do. Every day, from 6am to 10pm, was a total sprint to change the world! … And now, I get up in the morning and change a few pages of a Swedish Massage syllabus. And then maybe file some papers. Make some phone calls. Organize courses, if I’m feeling ambitious. Clean the office. Book appointments. And after work, I have that dreaded horror to fill… free time! So I fill my free time as quickly as I can, and with the most productive activities I can find.
The extra time I had in the evenings? Oh, look! Let’s go to a ward activity!
The extra time I had in the mornings? Get up early and study.
The extra time at night? Go to bed early. I don’t want to have to find something to do.
Want to watch a movie? Great! Ken Burns’ The Civil War! It’s fun and educational! And it doubles for the history course!
…And when I get free time anyway, I spend it writing blog posts about why I can’t stand free time.
…Does anybody have a hobby for me? Ω