I’ve been home for just over a month now. Home, that place I grew up, that place where my parents live, my old bedroom, all of my university friends. I am back to my mother complaining when I don’t finish a part of dinner I don’t like. All told things are going well. I have a job and a closet filled with all my clothes not just the ones that haphazardly found their way into my suitcase.
I found a job for the summer, though it’s not in an office. I start on Monday. For the past month I’ve been waiting and trying to fill my time. I miss going to a job everyday and feeling like I had something to do with myself, and that if I didn’t accomplish anything it mattered. I am back in the place I was in Copenhagen. I feel a weird combination of having too little to do as well as too much. The too little is endless free time and waiting for plans to happen. It’s watching movies on Netflix and making headway on Doctor Who. It’s starting to read the Game of Thrones books, which have been a total buzzkill for my productivity, and the first two are the shorter ones. It’s waiting around for plans with friends to happen and trying to sort out the hours in between.
Then there’s the opposite feeling, that I can do anything. There are so many tasks I could accomplish, so many things to read, shows to watch, things I could teach myself. If I made use of every free hour then I could be a much improved version of myself come the end of the summer. Not only will my resume be slightly buffer but I will have read everything Steinbeck every wrote, I will do yoga everyday, I will finish that paint your own garden gnome I started a year ago. I will be super me. That is the hard part, getting up everyday and finding the motivation to be a productive and useful human being. As an exchange student I napped a lot and read. I don’t regret either but I found it hard to find things to fill all my time. At an office wasted time was at least structured. I may have been unproductive but I was at a place with other people and that meant that my free time was precious. I had to ensure that I made good use of it. I also know that I can easily get busy. Once I start my job and should any of my freelance attempts succeed my life will be brimming once again.
Growing up I was the busy kid. My parents registered me in activities. I played soccer then fenced. I played classical guitar. I was a debater. I was always doing something. I was a relatively low maintenance student unless I was bored. Once I got bored I either feel asleep—one of my science teachers had a rule specifically banning me (and no other students) from putting my head on my desk—or sought out friends to divert me. One English teacher developed the smart strategy of letting me read whatever I wanted once I was done the assigned work. Now I am getting bored. I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know how freelancers do it.
The excitement of being back in a familiar place has also worn off. My friends no longer greet me like they haven’t seen me in ages. Seeing them is now routine and sometimes they get on my nerves in a way that my idealized sense of home never included. They balk on plans and I feel like moving to somewhere would be quite nice. I don’t feel the same need to explore the city since I know it so well. I am happy to sit in my room for hours and don’t feel like I am missing anything. But maybe that’s what’s nice about home. You can take it for granted. You can sit in your room and that is as worthwhile as going anywhere else in town.