For the first time since I was 4, I have an entire year off. Well, "off" meaning not having to take the little yellow (or big white) bus to anywhere at 8 in the morning.
I'm on mat leave and playing the waiting game.
It's odd. I love my job, and the people I work with, and most of the projects that come across my desk. I love my AD, my CD, the praise for a job well done, the breakthrough ah-ha moment when a concept comes together. I love working where people understand what "copywriter" means. I love the results of having to go back to the drawing board (even if the going back was a bit of a blow). My aunt once told me that I'm probably the only person who enjoys how they bring their paycheque home--and although I think she's exaggerating, I'm not convinced she's far from wrong.
So yes, it's odd to be apart from all that. I feel a little useless, in that I'm not contributing to the work. I feel a bit disconnected from the adrenaline. Advertising gets under your skin, drives some inner force that makes you dig deep, deep, deeper until you get it just right. It's compelling and rewarding and frustrating and satisfying. And I wonder how much I'm going to miss it.
But truth be told, my brain has turned into so much mush. My kind and lovely AD has politely asked a few times if, perhaps, just maybe, I'd, say forgotten a word here? Or a bit of punctuation there? And I look and see the glaring mistake, invisible to this bit of Swiss cheese between my ears. Plus you know the week will be long when, by 10:30 on a Monday morning, your previously comfy office chair has turned into a bit of a torture device that no amount of jiggling, shifting, scooting, or leg-raising can fix.
I guess I'm swapping one responsibility for another, altogether bigger one. It hasn't hit me quite yet, though. For now, I feel responsibility-less (unless you count the unwritten shower thank-yous that are staring at me from the kitchen, even now). It's a strange, uneasy feeling--like being disconnected from the real world. Almost like losing your place. Or watching from the sidelines. I almost feel badly for the women who run out the office door, free for a year and so glad to not have to come back for a good long while. What could be worse than an unwanted return, a year-long countdown to the pain of going back to their small corner of hell?
But, but, but... this project I've been working on since January may just change all that.