Me versus My Calendar

I swear, my inspirational calendar is mocking me.

I’m not even sure where it came from—maybe the printer my company uses gave them out. It’s big and glossy so I hung it up in my gray cubicle. All year it has sat up there, giving me smug messages:

Focus: People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.

I know where I’m going and it’s away from here and that’s WHY I can’t focus you stupid flowery calender.

(refreshed) Kalender März 2010 , March 2010
F Off Flower (Creative Commons License photo credit: eagle1effi)

It’s getting harder and harder to be a good employee, when I know I’m leaving in just a couple short months. I spend a lot of time staring at that bastard calendar. A lot of time counting:

…3 hours until I can go home…

…4 days until this weekend…

…5 weeks until I can give notice…

…9 weeks until I’m done here…

I’ve never loved math so much as I do right now. I’m a patient person, generally. I can wait. I can wait a long time. I’ve BEEN waiting a long time for this travel experience to finally start. Besides the odd week here and there I’ve been stationary for two years now. Saving, working, plotting and planning.

Two years is too long.

This incessant restlessness is one of the worst side effects for sufferers of the travel bug. It’s a creeping antsyness that sneaks up your leg when you’re just trying to enjoy your Sunday coffee. It’s an almost irresistible urge to get up. Go. Somewhere. An urge to see new things, navigate new roads, to learn.

You can sometimes put off the urge for a little while. Distract your restless mind with a bar full of friends, or an afternoon at a museum. But for the real travelholic there is no replacement, and there’s only one way to soothe the restless cravings within. And that is to go.

So I try to fill my life here with distractions and things that I love. With friends and family. I am trying to enjoy the fleeting summer I have here (maybe my last summer in DC). Most of the time I can do this. But every so often, more often than I’d like really, the restlessness creeps back in and the counting game starts all over.

Sorry, DC

I also have a countdown clock on my laptop. It’s been counting down since sometime last year. I remember when it was in the 200s, and as I write this now it’s telling me I have 78 days until I fly to Japan. Whenever the strain of waiting seems unbearable I check my little countdown clock and it does make me feel a bit better.

Sometimes I worry about this recurrent desperation. Will it ever go away? Will I ever be able to just stand still and be content? To appreciate what I have and not yearn for new mountains to tackle? Maybe. Maybe if I were happier with where I’m currently sitting I wouldn’t be in such a rush to get going. But I feel like a snail that’s too big for it’s shell. So I’m anxiously hopping from one foot to another, waiting, trying to wait, for my life to get a move on.

I’m waiting for the day that I don’t have to wait anymore. I really hate wishing my life away, whether I’m wishing myself into next week or next year. I don’t want to always be the person waiting for something big to come, or for my life to begin.

I’m waiting for the day when I can stop waiting and start living.

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47 thoughts on “Me versus My Calendar”

  1. I can totally relate to that restlessness you’re feeling except I’m much further behind you. I just have this somewhat vague idea that I need a change. No plan or date yet. I still keep thinking, can I really do something like that? Is it too crazy & irresponsible? But I’m pretty sure that restlessness will overrule those thoughts & I’ll be able to just GO. Good luck with the countdown…I do it too for any trip. Can’t wait to hear how everything goes once you quit & hit the road!!

    1. I think making the mental leap to change is the hardest part- sounds like you are well on your way! Good luck!

  2. Waiting is so difficult especially when it relates to traveling. You feel anxious all the time and constantly wonder what is out there. Whenever I feel restless, I find something that can distract me temporarily (like a favorite movie).

    I am only one day away from my 2-month journey to South America. I am watching the Discovery Channel while packing(so I can be somewhat distracted).

    You will be so excited when the time comes! It is a never-ending cycle for travelers!

    1. Congratulations and how exciting for you! I think once I’m away from my job I’ll be able to really appreciate things better.

  3. Yeah, I totally hear ya. I’m plotting a massive trip to make up for lost time while I’ve been working this summer (including DC I hope, love that place). Its one of the reasons I started a travel blog, legitimizes the hours spent on a plane and focuses the restlessness.

    1. I really don’t know what I would have done without this outlet to complain in. Definitely helps me focus.

  4. 1170 half hour increments, or 65 workdays, remaining at my job (unless I get a major freelancing gig/cash beforehand). That’s what my biggest countdown is for, more than the trip, which is a bit sad. Shouldn’t the trip take precedence?

    I see some disagree, but I find counting to be therapeutic. It’s become a bit of a happy and artistic ritual. Don’t worry — you are SO FREAKING CLOSE!!

    1. Wow- you are good! I’ve got 68 days before I leave (56 til done with work) so we are roughly on the same countdown!

  5. Waiting sucks. But like a fine wine, it gets only sweeter with time.

    If you have something to look forward to, you’d be surprised how much satisfaction you get just from the anticipation.

  6. I am always looking forward to my next trip, planning, planning, counting the weeks. . .but yes, you then run into the danger of not enjoying the moment in time where you are. That’s been a chronic problem in my life. I should be a PSA: Don’t let this happen to you. 🙂

    1. My mother read this article and told me “you have more fun than anyone I know and you are still complaining!” Guess I do have a lot to learn about enjoying what I have…

  7. Oh my goodenss, you summed up the pre-leaving feeling perfectly! I was so lucky to have supportive workmates who made leaving easier. They listened to me talk about packing and where to go – otherwise I would have gone mad! I found myself drinking shitloads of tea. Any excuse to get up from my desk and stop my knee jigging. I feel your pain. Even though we’re finally on the road, I sometimes find my mind wandering back to home and responsibility – will it be easier to settle next time, or will I always be thinking of where the grass is greener?

  8. I can completely relate, but not to the whole RTW thing. I have no travel plans in my immediate future. But you took the words right out of my mouth about how I’m feeling right now in general – I’m just waiting. For something. For anything. My job is just a job – not a career. I’m waiting to figure out what to do with my life. Waiting for my boyfriend to finish school. Waiting to get out of Ohio. So much waiting! Looking forward to little things – a trip home on the weekend, a night out with friends – does help. But the overwhelming restlessness is always there, lurking in the background.

    I hope, like you, that someday this feeling, this annoying travel bug, will abate. I hope that someday I’ll be so happy with my right-now life that I won’t have any reason to look forward to things months or years into the future. I hope. But we’ll see!

    Maybe I should start planning a grand RTW adventure. But then that would entail a hell of a lot of waiting!

    1. I hate that feeling of waiting- particularly when I dont know what I’m waiting for. It’s part of how this trip came about in the first place. I hope you find what you’re waiting for…

  9. Can totally relate to this. I can’t imagine having been waiting as long as you though! Yikes. You’re almost there 🙂

    Restless is the perfect word to describe it.

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