June gloom is doing me no favors here. It’s cool and overcast. The clouds brighten and darken, but it neither rains nor becomes clear. Early summer is a time of transition for me, as the school year and my Second Job ends. For the first few weeks I am ecstatic. I edit all day and then weed or run or walk the dog. I read like mad. But after the first rush wears off, I get tired of weeding, and suddenly I have to figure out how to structure my days without losing my mind.

DP was seemingly born without an internal clock. If he checks his phone and sees that it is 8 a.m., it is 8 a.m. for the next three hours. You can ask him what time of day it is and there are times when he cannot honestly tell you. It could be 5 a.m. or 8 p.m., he doesn’t know. I find that I am the same way over the summer. I don’t have to be at Second Job at 1 or 2 or 6.

It’s 2 p.m. right now, but it feels like 5 p.m. or maybe even 10 a.m. The light is ambiguous, and although I was wearing grown-up pants earlier today, I’m back in my pajamas. From the beginning of my freelance days, I have been systematic. I know I have to get up and get to my desk first thing. I do my best work in the morning. So you hear stories about freelancers who work until 2 a.m., but I’ve never been that sort of person. Who can edit at midnight? Not me.

Sometimes I run errands during the day when my attention wanes. There I am, a functional employed adult at the grocery store at 2 p.m. That feels weird too. I am surrounded by women with small children and old people, and I wonder what I’m doing. On my long freelance days I question everything. Am I working hard enough? Is it every okay to nap during the day? Have I done what I needed to do today? When can I stop? Is it too early for a beer? Did I eat enough for lunch? Should I go for a run?

I can make myself crazy as my days lose shape and attenuate. I know enough to get my work done. I do a few of the other necessities that keep my life going. I make lists. I check my clock. I drink enough water just in case I want to go running later today. I know these tasks keep this small freelance life going. But I look up from my desk in June and I don’t know what day it is or how close we are to sunset. Do I have time enough to write? When was the dog last out? Should I eat a peach?

How do you keep track?



3 responses to “Disorientation

  1. I couldn’t keep track today…It’s Thursday, right?

    I had half a day off, because of a funeral, but the funeral was shorter than I anticipated (Presbyterians for the win), so I arrived at work about 45 minutes early, and instead of taking back the vacation time, I asked if I could leave 45 minutes early, so I could pick up a few things on the way home. So my work schedule was weird and i was bummed anyway and when I arrived home, I had no idea what I was supposed to do with myself, because I didn’t have to jump on dinner . . .

    I hope i remember to go to work tomorrow, because I just had to check the first sentence of this comment to remember what day it is.

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