Playing Hooky

Ben Affleck in ArgoIt’s been a busy few weeks, both at BrightLight and at my day job, a reflection on this being that kind of season I guess. I looked at my calendar for the remaining months of the year and freaked out at how little time there was left and how much I had to get done. It seems like it went from lazy summer to crazy fall.

By the end of last week I’d just had it. I was Done and I’m sure you know what I mean. So, I played hooky. At 3pm on Friday I left work and went to the movies. It was revelatory.

There’s no point in lying: I have played hooky before – taken off “sick” when I really wasn’t. But it was always to do something else. And I mean “To Do” in the capital letters of a To Do List. I needed to run an errand that had been long neglected or just to plain catch up on laundry that threatened to overwhelm my apartment so much it was close to easier just to move than to do it. I’ve never taken off for something plain fun and frivolous. I tried to at least respect the fact that if I was engaging in some trickery I was at least doing it for earnest reasons. And now, if I may say so, Screw That. Let’s do this again.

I went to a 3:45 pm showing of Argo, which just came out. I bought a soda and some M&Ms and had a crazy good time sitting in a dark theatre in the middle of a working afternoon. It was certainly a better use of my time than just sitting at work not really accomplishing anything and, given how I was feeling at the time, mostly making things worse. Instead, I felt so relaxed. Once I’d made the decision I was going to take off and I was just going to go to the movies and not work on the dozens of things on my “To Do, No Really, You Need To Do This List”, I was nearly giddy. As far as I’m concerned the movie should win every award ever for how great it made me feel (in reality it was good and fun but not really the greatest movie of all time*). When I walked out two hours later I was completely refreshed.

Probably freelancers get this. One of the main appeals is to have your own schedule – go to the movies mid-day. Take a long lunch. And, of course, pay for that by working long into the night. But I’ve generally appreciated the regularity of my 9-5 where my hours are boxed in – both for my company’s benefit and for mine. It tells me when to focus on what, which is a structure I need.

But I will absolutely do this again sometime. And sooner rather than later.

(* Ben Affleck’s shaggy hair and beard are amazing and I hope that trend catches on outside Brooklyn)

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