Illustration By Ashley Stewart.

I hate having free time. This might be a blasphemous idea for SCAD students, but the more that I find myself with nothing to do, the more I realize how much I hate having a day devoid of work or plans. 

In high school, I relished every second that I had to do absolutely nothing. At that point in my life, I had no responsibilities and nothing but distractions to keep me out of the chaotic wind tunnel of my own inner monologue. If you asked me back then, I might have even told you that my favorite thing to do was sit around by myself and waste time.

Now, almost 10 years later, I have difficulty being stuck with nothing but my thoughts. I’m generally haunted by questions like, “Am I going to die alone?,” “Would that be my fault?” and “If not, how is that any better?” I also have a fun habit of replaying every memory I’ve ever had over and over again to make sure I don’t forget about when and where I’ve embarrassed myself. 

I think many people have a similar self-shaming movie reel that plays in the background of their minds at inappropriate times, or during an idle pause in the shower. The severity and frequency might vary from person to person, but most people can identify with that type of inconvenient reflection. 

The specialized, supercut compilation of my worst moments is one of the primary reasons why I am no longer happy with having time to do nothing. I don’t even enjoy thinking about my good memories because I end up scrutinizing them until I can’t enjoy them anymore. 

Not only am I doing my best to keep my inner demons at bay with a sharp stick at all times, but I also have never been so bored before in my life. When I was younger, it was enough to watch television or play video games. Now, I need much more than a singular passive activity to distract me from myself.

It feels weird to suddenly be in a position where I am no longer disappointed at the thought of having a Friday makeup class because I am just glad to have something to occupy a two-and-a-half hour chunk of my day. 

At the heart of my disdain for free time is a difficulty with time management and unresolved mental health problems, like my grotesque and constant rumination — an element of my obsessive compulsive disorder. I just never thought I would reach a point in my life where I became one of those people who actually looks down on a day devoid of engaging activity.