Essays & Confessions

13 Things I Stopped Doing When I Started My Career (That I Need To Rediscover)

By and | Sunday, August 02, 2015

Things I Need To Rediscover

1. Actually having hobbies.
I’m honestly not sure what my hobbies are any more. I have things I’ve been saying I want to do for fun ever since I moved to a city for a new job: I want to play tennis more often, spend a weekend volunteering, join a French speaking group and learn to bake more than just brownies from a Ghirardelli box. None of these are big commitments (and they don’t cost much), but they require research, planning and reaching out to people, and I never block out enough time to make those things happen.

2. Fitness goals.
A few months after I graduated college, I ran my first half marathon. It was something I’d been working toward for a long time. Today, I went for a run and ran exactly 0.7 miles before I had to stop and walk. When I joined the ~professional workforce~, I had other goals that I was working toward, and my fitness ones took a back seat. For a while I commuted and got home after dark, so that was my excuse not to go running. But even now, though I don’t commute at all, I have no motivation after a long day of work. Running would probably give me more energy, but I’ve been struggling to get back out there, especially in the heat.

3. Making time to catch up with friends who live far away.
I say I’ll call, but I’ve seen myself get pretty flaky about the occasional Skype session, or scheduled phone chats, especially after a long day of work. Even when I visit my hometown, it’s usually just a few quick catch ups over coffee or drinks because I’m only in town for 3 days. 

4. My budget.
When I first started making a salary, I actually broke down the amount I made, compiled a spread sheet of my monthly expenses and made a budget. But then I aggressively ignored it, as drinks with coworkers and last minute grocery splurges got the better of me. I’ve gone through points where I’ve rediscovered my budget and tightened up, and through times when I’ve thrown the budget out the window completely. (Lately I’ve been good with savings, but that’s mainly because I need to be prepared to pay taxes as a freelancer this year.) 

5. Making my bed.
I honestly don’t believe most of the articles about *~*what successful people do every morning*~*, but would it kill me to make my bed every morning? Probably not. 

6. Cooking and trying to seek out the hEaLtHy oPtioNs.
When I first joined the full-time grind (less than 2 years ago), I succumbed to post work take-out about once a week. I rationalize the $10-$15 thai take-out as an “inexpensive option” compared to a fancy meal out, but it isn’t nearly as healthy or affordable as cooking for myself. (And thai iced tea has absolutely no health benefits, but I can’t not order one with my curry.)

7. Finding time to volunteer.
For 3 years, I volunteered with the same local organization. In addition to meeting and working with great people, being there served as a not-so-subtle reminder to stop whining about trivial parts of my life. 
I wish I still got that reminder once a week, because as part of the working world, I feel like I’ve become a little self-centered. My priorities are primarily work-related, and I get too wrapped up in things and forget to keep everything in perspective. So far since joining the workforce, I’ve volunteered once— for about 3 hours around the last holiday season.

8. Putting away my phone when I’m trying to have a real conversation with someone.
I definitely would not classify myself as a workaholic, but I generally like to be oN mY GaMe and available to the people I work with at any time. I do not want to change that, but I would like to make a better effort to put my phone down when I’m having dinner with a friend. I’ve noticed that being on the full-time grind makes me more high strung, and during dinner I often catch myself tuning my boyfriend out because I’m trying to remember my priorities for work the next day. 

9. Checking in on and visiting family (apart from just my parents).
I call my parents on the phone a lot. Maybe too often. However, when you move for a job and you have a (very) finite number of vacation days, you hardly take the time to see your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Fortunately, I have great family that will visit me, but in the last couple of years, my grandparents have aged considerably, and I haven’t been there to spend time with them.

10. Going to the dentist.
It’s not just that I dread the bill that shows up after the appointment. It’s that I frequently put off making appointments with doctors, dentists, etc. because even if it starts out as the first thing on my to do list, it gets pushed until the end of the day and then forgotten entirely.

11. Spending time alone.
I’m presumed to be an extrovert because I’m outgoing and love to spend time with people, etc., but I actually need a lot of time to recharge and be by myself. After work (or when I take a break from working before I revisit things later in the evening), I choose to spend time with people and will sometimes feel more exhausted because of it. I rarely reserve a block of time that I can use to cook myself something only I enjoy, and not focus on anyone else, or check my email.

12. Making my apartment into a homey space.
After I got a job, my plan was to move quickly, find an apartment and decorate. Instead, circumstances changed, jobs changed, what I could afford changed, and I’ve actually moved three times in less than 2 years, never leaving myself time to decorate. I want to pick out things for the living room with my roommate, liven up the walls and put up shelves to make use of our space. So far, I’ve successfully decorated my room, which isn’t much, but it’s a step in the right direction.

13. Reading a good book, instead of starting one and never going back to it.
At my first job, one of my goals was to read during my lunch hour. Here’s the catch: I worked in an open office set up where my boss could see my monitor at all times. So I actually spent my lunch hour getting away from my desk to respond to personal emails, read articles and scroll through Twitter. New goal: Actually finish both books I’ve been “reading” for the past 3 months.

Maya Kachroo-Levine is a writer and Editorial Assistant at The Financial Diet. Send her an email at or follow her on Twitter.

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