Summer Vacation


I quit my job in April and am taking significant time off before looking for work again. For the first time in my adult life, I am intentionally taking a long, restful break. The last time I took significant time off, it was to recover from an unexpected, traumatic health event, which is not what I would call intentional or restful.

I hope I can capture even a tiny bit of the joyful spark of a grade school summer break. This is challenging because I am not a child and have not been one for some time. I have the responsibilities of an adult, but they are manageable when they aren't competing with a full time job. I have the financial burden of adulthood, but also the luck and privilege that allowed me to save enough money to fight the Type A Puritan in my mind that never wants to stop working.

Perhaps the hardest part is that I have the knowledge, anxieties, and traumas of an adult living in these increasingly challenging times. There is not a lot of joy to be found in the world right now. The pandemic made my world very small. The removal of mask mandates as case numbers went down (and then, unsurprisingly, up again) has kept my world small in this third year of the modern plague. There are so many cascading and intersecting horrors on top of covid. Police violence, war, attacks on trans people, the loss of reproductive rights, climate change, and so much more. We're all living through a turducken of catastrophes.

I am so very tired. I guess that makes this a good time for rest.

For the first time in my adult life, I am getting enough sleep on a regular basis. I enjoy cooking when I don't need to cram it in after a long, stressful day of work. I have the energy to try new recipes and am enjoying food a lot more. I can go for a walk when it's nice outside instead of hoping for the rare cooperation of the fickle Portland weather and a work calendar full of doom by Zoom.

I have time to be lazy! I am slowly working through Laziness Does Not Exist to reassure my brain that this is a good thing. I bought a giant, comfy camp chair for my balcony to curl up in and read when Portland stops pretending it's still winter. I am slowly working through Horizon: Forbidden West. I don't think I've put this many hours into a video game since Oblivion.

I am making space to learn about things that have nothing to do with computer programming. One of the great regrets of my college years is that I had so little space to study anything outside of computer engineering. I love film, but have never taken a film class or studied it in any meaningful way. During my break, I am working through The Film Experience (a film studies course from MIT OpenCourseWare), reading A History of Narrative Film (the textbook for the course), and watching a ton of movies. This is bringing me immense joy. I may be taking a break from tech, but I appreciate that it makes it possible for me to enjoy so much film from the safety of my cement block in the sky.

I wish the world was less bleak, but I am glad I have the time and space to exist as a human being and process what's going on around me instead of just doomscrolling at 1am as part of revenge bedtime procrastination. I suspect that after a few months, I will miss the structure of having a job, but, for now, I am really enjoying my summer break.