So you’re unemployed for awhile, and everyone you know works full time, and you start to become a little antsy and desperate. Maybe you’re doing some freelance work, but it doesn’t really feel too productive because you’re still mostly in bed in yoga pants typing, and you’re thinking, “If I don’t get a ‘real’ job soon, I’m going to lose it.”

And then a job comes along, and suddenly you’re working 40 hours a week, and you have health insurance for the first time in years, and you can update your LinkedIn profile, and you think for a couple weeks that you finally have it all under control. When you see your friends, you can casually toss your own work stories into the conversation and complain about your coworkers.

But one tired Thursday night, after you’ve been standing for 24 hours so far this week with another 16 to look forward to (because this is not an office job), and your feet feel like they’re literally on fire, and your brain feels like it might melt out your ears, you question it again.

It’s easy to mistake having a job to go to as having something meaningful to do, and it is common to confuse a busy life with a passionate one. And the busyness of everyday living easily crowds out being intentional with personal goals and passions. Many a day comes where instead of doing anything for myself, I just collapse into an inert pile in front of my Netflix stream.

How do I keep saying yes, when I’m too tired to say anything?

I know we’re all overworked and underfulfilled and that being busy and stressed and tired is an absolutely uncommon problem. But I’d like to think that we’re all looking, and some of us finding, ways to keep that inner spark lit even when it seems like too much effort to stoke the flame. Today was my first day at trying to recapture “me.” Instead of spending the day off tired or racing around pointlessly, I made a conscious effort to do only the things I wanted to do. I spent time at the Botanic Gardens, worked on a freelance project at a coffee house, did some work on another blog project and am writing this.  It’s hard, but I think when I go back to the grind tomorrow, I’ll make it through a little more easily, because I spent my time away my way.