Recently I took a vacation for the first time in almost four years. A real vacation with actual travel. As I usually do, I brought my laptop along because, apparently, I’m a workaholic. I’m kind of glad I did because it meant I could go fix a website that crashed while I was 30,000 feet above the Earth. However, it also meant that I knew I had my laptop and I could get work done. Enter the Great Big Guilt Monster.
The Great Big Guilt Monster is the voice in the back of my head that starts nagging when I’m trying to relax. In this case, it knew I had 4 days of relaxing ahead of me so it was extra loud. After that first night of fixing the website, I thought it would be easy to ignore it. But just that next morning, once the coffee kicked in anyway, it popped up again. “You should be working,” it said. “Shut up,” I mentally growled back.
I knew there wasn’t anything truly urgent that I needed to do. I made sure to take care of everything that couldn’t wait for 4 more measly days. Still, the voice nagged. That’s when I decided to have a beer. The day drinking helped. In fact, I highly recommend it. I just wish sometimes I didn’t need to resort to that to drown it out.
It didn’t silence it completely, but, somehow, copious amounts of alcohol, good friends, and great conversation were enough to distract the Guilt Monster from bothering me too much. The voice was quieter, but not gone altogether. By the last day, with a plane ride looming and with nothing much to do except wait around to leave, it had reared its ugly head again. I could have take the few hours that I had left, opened up my laptop and worked on something. But I was firm with myself. Not this time. I wanted to enjoy the last moments that I would be able to spend with a friend who lives across the country from me. And I did, but still, not without that voice.
Even now, weeks later, I’m sitting here typing this while watching a movie. I do take days where I don’t work, and instead binge shows or read a book. But the next day, the Guilt Monster visits, crippling me with regret that I wasn’t “using my time wisely”.
It’s crazy, I know. Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me.
Can’t I just enjoy the moment and relax? Must I always beat myself up for taking time for myself? Does anyone else experience this?
Does the Great Big Guilt Monster visit any of you? How do you deal with it?
Want to Read More?
Subscribe to get new posts delivered directly to your inbox.