When Was the Last Time You Took Time Off?

How much PTO do you get a year? How many of that do you use? At my last full-time job, I very rarely used my VLs. I maybe went on one or two trips a year, so I had a lot left over. They were convertible, so I preferred the money to a day off. Especially since anyone familiar with the salary and non-existent pay raises in publishing knows every extra centavo counts.

Today was only the second time I took a day off this year. It’s already August. Clearly, I need to be taking more time off. I spent most of the day catching up with 2 of my friends I hadn’t seen for a while. I ended up hanging out with them for a full 6 hours. Imagine! In that time, we had caught up on each other’s past and current stressors, raved about our silly little obsessions, and even contemplated a possible trip next month. “Our souls need it,” we said.

We spoke about a story I had started a couple of years back inspired by teen movies and high school and old crushes. Did I write it before the pandemic? I couldn’t recall. When I got home, I looked for it and found that I had actually written over 4,500 words. I wrote it between August and September 2018, about four years from today. A quick search on WhatsApp revealed that I had written it shortly after To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before came out, a movie I have rewatched more times than I care to admit. My memory is hazy, and I don’t remember writing most of it if I’m being honest. It was nice to re-read it. It felt familiar, sort of like a time capsule of the moment when I was deep into writing it. There are references that I immediately recognize—a coffee shop I frequented then, a regular drink order my friends got when we still went out, and actual events from real life that I will not divulge.

It’s clearly unfinished, the last word I typed on September 4, 2018 was “Maybe.” And maybe it’s something I can come back to. Maybe one day, I’ll make you read it, too.

I suppose it’s this current obsession that’s making me think I can go back to it. Or maybe it’s all this reading I’ve been doing the past month. It’s probably because I miss writing longform. Whatever the reason is, here’s to finding something to care about again that’s mostly for me.