Finishing two hours later

“Sure, I could go see a movie, but that would mean I will finish my dissertation two hours later.”

My friends don’t believe me when I tell them I used to think this way during grad school.

Through no one’s fault but my own, I can admit that I basically forgot how to do things for fun and how to take care of myself. The quote above is a small glimpse into how much I worked.

That’s the literal mental calculus I went through in response to almost every social invitation outside of eating, sleeping, family time, and work. I still think along these lines all the time, even though there’s no reason to. I still feel guilty when I do fun things or play, as if it’s time wasted. I’m starting to accept that this isn’t normal, that ordinary people don’t feel this way. That it’s okay to read books or play ultimate or go to the climbing gym for the evening. It’s a process, but I’m getting there.

I’m learning there are things I’d rather finish two hours later.