what to do with a day

My spouse says to me that she wants to start getting up earlier. Our circadian rhythms dance to different beats. I am a morning person, generally exhausted by the world come 6:30 in the evening. For Lynn though, a rising moon brings a rise in energy and she can stay up late into the night “working on things” as she describes it. The result is that she comes to bed after me and wakes me up every night. And she feels bad about this. So she’s going to get up earlier, exercise, and hopefully wear herself out by a more “reasonable” hour.

I say that I appreciate the gesture, though it’s really not necessary. But it is a kind offer.

“I need to work on things at night”, Lynn tells me, “because I have to spend the day working at the library.” Lynn is an artist in every sense of the word, including the “starving artist” sense. She juggles multiple jobs in an attempt to make some level of income. Her days are filled with the need to be here and there. She spends a great deal of time traveling here and there. She spends a great deal of time going to and doing things that she feels she must do, but that she doesn’t necessarily want to do. Working at the library is not about being an artist. She is an artist and so having to spend her time being in a library and doing work in a library is being and doing that takes away from who she is. “I need to work on things at night” means “this is the only time I have to do what I’m really supposed to be doing.”

But I admit that when Lynn says to me, “I need to work on things at night because I have to spend the day working in the library”, my initial reaction is perturbation. Because I have to spend my day working in the library, too. The difference, of course, is that I’m a librarian. Working in the library is what I chose to do. It is my career. Lynn is an artist, I am a librarian, thus in the logic of our conversation, I am the only one who is supposed to be spending her day in the library. The inference is that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Lynn is not.

So why am I perturbed by her statement? Because the cynic in me wants to scream,  “How often does anyone get to be and do who they are simultaneously? Life just doesn’t work like that.” Completely and utterly frustrating… it just doesn’t seem to work like that.

But I do think Lynn is on to something.

And she stays up late to find it.

I too often come home exhausted and go to bed early and spend too much time wondering what to do with the day. What to do with all of the days that, when put together, make up one’s life. I always seem to be searching for something too, but unlike Lynn, it’s not as clear to me what it is. 

But I’m grateful for a Sunday morning and time to finish a book and have an extra cup of coffee and think about things. Thinking about things seems to be what I do best and a thinker what I am most. With jobs for thinkers are about as few and far between as jobs for artists, I’ll just enjoy today as a day for thinking. A day not spent at the library.

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