The enthusiasm I had for a summer at home with the family interspersed with climbing trips was epic. And it passed with as much enjoyment as anticipated. Come the return to school, I was left with ample time during the day.
Initially I used the time to ebay off our old baby toys, car seats, strollers etc which take up space in the garage. That filled a few weeks. Then I switched to DIY jobs, then gardening, then… you get the drift.
At some point I started to realise my time off work had somehow become a well structured job with daily chores and targets to meet. I ceased this right away when I realised, however suddenly taking away the structure and rewards initially brought a strong anxiety to my days.
It took a good while to sit and just be with the uncomfortableness of what I was feeling. Holding myself back from filling the space with something new to do. Letting the self-judgment of being idle to pass.
In many ways, it was dieting or abstaining from the bad habit of being busy to avoid the anxiety of not knowing what each day would bring. I’m glad I stuck with it to really experience how bad it made me feel at times.
I also have a new found empathy for those who become suddenly out of work and are not used to it.
Ask any project manager about the key to their success, and they will say that delivering a project is often more like a "dark art" or by chance, than a predictable science.