If my identity depended on my occupation, I would not have much of an existence to write from at the moment. But since I refuse to be fenced in by such a narrow self-definition, I am free to live anonymously. I am very happy to do so.
So what do I do in this year off from working? My daily routine is flexible, but in general it is divided between writing, schoolwork, cooking, reading, and prayer and meditation.
In order to fight the upcoming winter blues, I usually do some lying meditation and go to be bed early, around 8 or 9 o'clock. I get up early too, anywhere between 5 and 7 o'clock, make tea or coffee, and do the dishes. Then I try to do twenty minutes of sitting meditation. I will eat some breakfast and then on Mondays and Wednesdays will go to tutor at St. Vincent's until 11:30. Then I will come back and do some pleasure reading, or maybe reading for school. I've also been doing some work on the bus.
At least four days a week I ride my bike to the coffee shop in Mt. Airy to log in a few hours of work on the book, and to drink coffee. On the way back I will stop at the Acme and pick up some groceries, loading them into my saddlebags, or go to the post office, or run errands.
Tuesday nights I have class; other nights I will read, write, and fill in with meditation during the times when I might be tempted to watch tv or get into trouble. I have also started cooking again, since I have the time, which saves me money on eating out and helps in gaining back the twenty pounds I have lost in the past few months. I made a sweet potato pie recently, and an 18-bean with bacon soup; both turned out well.
My days do not feel rushed, nor do I feel the pressure of a lack of time. I will most likely start working again after I graduate in the Spring, when I will not be in school. I feel I have a good balance now and I hope to maintain that. Letting go of a lot of projects has kept me from always "doing" something, leaving me free to do nothing in particular.
One of my favorite stories is about a fisherman who was leaning against his boat on the shore, napping. A businessman saw him and asked, "why are you not out fishing?"
The fisherman replied, "I have caught enough fish today."
The business man replied, "Yes, but if you go out and catch more fish you will make more money. Then you can buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish and make more money."
"Then what would I do?" the fisherman asked.
The businessman tugged at his lapels. "Then you could enjoy yourself."
The fisherman replied, "What do you think I am doing now?"