After almost two years, I have finally finished the last of my Ph.D. classes. Yes, last weekend I submitted the final assignment that would mark the conclusion of my academic coursework.

And so this weekend, I came to a startling realization.

For the past two years, things have been absolutely crazy busy in my life. Between getting engaged and then jumping into wedding planning, changing jobs not once but twice, applying for and then diving into Ph.D. classes, and stalking and finally joining the production of Play/Date, I’ve been in nonstop go-go-go mode. I’ve had very, very little time that was just mine to do with as I pleased, with no restrictions or obligations or deadlines.

So yesterday, the first Saturday in almost two years in which I had nothing due, nothing pressing, nothing pending, what did I do with my time? I sat in my home office and played Civilization V for something like nine hours. Nine hours. Even a week before, I wouldn’t have dreamed of “wasting” that much time doing something so unproductive, with no connection to any obligations or requirements.

By the end of the day, I was well on my way to world domination.

Over the past two years, on the rare occasions that I did have a full day with nothing required of me, I tended to focus on spending quality time with my now-husband and/or with our loved ones. With little time available for socializing, it was important to maximize the few opportunities that came along, y’know?

Not yesterday. Yesterday was me, by myself, not even playing video games remotely with other friends… Just me. Tuning out the rest of the world for the day. Because I could.

In an odd twist, this exact scenario is what prompted me to explore higher education in the first place: sitting at home, playing video games, by myself, and thinking that I ought to find a way to more productively spend my time. Fast forward two years later, and it was the first thing I wanted to do with my day after finishing my last two classes.

Funny how things come full circle.

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