It seems that I am in the habit of being on call. On call for two different jobs, possibly on call for my relationships, on call for whatever fun social events are going on. How did I end up being on call?
To be on call is to be open and responsive, and flexible to different situations as they arise. To be on call also means giving up control over one’s time in order to create a space for something to happen on a time frame set by somebody else. To be on call entails a lot of waiting in the event that no-body or no-thing jumps in to your schedule to make you busy.
I did take an active part in applying for and taking jobs where I can work from home and work when there is work to be done and not work when there is not. At the time that I set up this schedule, I also had a third job waiting tables. That job provided a lot of structure and social interaction that is absent from my two work-from-home positions. I would show up at a certain time, go down a checklist of cleaning tasks, then start serving tables and focus on the task at hand until it was time to leave. It was an excellent break from my thoughts and a source of entertainment.
The only reason I feel like I may be “on call” with my girlfriend is that she is busier than me and plans ahead farther than me. For these reasons, she comes up with a plan and then asks me to participate if I am able. I either say yes or no, depending on whether I can afford to travel (she lives 4-5 hours away from me) and if I am free and want to do the thing in question. But I rarely have an opportunity to plan first and set the agenda because I am not busy and don’t feel the need to schedule and prioritize when I know I will have free time down the road. Hmmm… it looks like I could change that pattern if I put in some effort into planning my social life in advance.
Being on call for work has left me with the feeling that I need to leave my schedule free in case something pops up. And if something pops up, I need to stop whatever I am doing and prioritize the work task. This leads to a mindset that waiting for something to pop up is more productive or useful than scheduling in time for hobbies or recreation, and as a result I leave large blocs of time unscheduled even if I have nothing to do.
I guess there are a million things I could be doing with free time, and I only have to decide and prioritize… maybe I’ll write blog entries.