In college, overcommitment and sleep deprivation were not the norm. They were the expectation. Studying physics and English literature, interning (then freelancing), working the occasional part-time job and tutoring filled my days and much of my nights.
Starting a job in a corporate environment after college didn’t help my schedule. Instead of freeing up time I would have tutored to make ends meet, my desk job motivated me to tutor more so that I would be doing some meaningful work. After each day of 7-10 hours of mind-numbing digital paper pushing, it became one of the only reminders that I had the potential to make a difference in the world.
During these days, I honed my social media connectivity skills and plumbed the depths of my nerdiness with the podcasts and amazing websites that my friends had shared. At work, I made one close friend within my department. We quickly figured out a schedule of legitimate-ish activities that broke up the (web surfing and) data entry. However, the first few days were rough. Neither of us knew if the other was a well-disguised psychopath or, as it turned out, an Archer aficionado and YouTube master. He started roughly three weeks before I did and turned in his two weeks’ notice four days before I did the same.
After we stopped working way out Highway 280 (Pass the “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here” sign, go up the hill and it’ll be your next right), we kept up through e-mail and social media. Kind of.
Aside from the friends I work or live with, most of my social interactions resemble a game of catch up. Most of what I know about their lives comes from either their social media profiles or their responses to a random text. Part of it comes from an inherent fear of what will happen if I let go of a part of my busyness. I have been a tutor AND student AND freelance writer for long enough living any other way is … inconceivable.
Recently, I have started trying to pry away little pieces of that busyness to make time for family, friends and self-care. My budget got even tighter, but the time I have to enjoy is much more valuable. If not for social media, most of these conversations would be inquiries about mutual friends and their quotidian activities. Instead, we talk music and religion and beer and science and love.
The main problem now is figuring out a way to allot just a bit more time each day to communicating with friends. For now, I’ll stick with the relationships I have — they’re way more entertaining than cable.
Today’s title courtesy of Relient K’s “Be My Escape.”