UNITED STATES─It amazes me just how quickly the year 2019 has come and gone. It seemed like a few months ago I was just thinking ugh I cannot wait till 2020, and voila it has finally arrived. With that said, I’m really thinking that 2020 is the year I have to focus on me and solely me. I’m someone who constantly puts the needs of others ahead of my own and as a result I’m always on the losing end of the stick. I don’t like that feeling, and its more frustrating when you discover the people that you’re sticking your neck out for, could care less about you.

So I cannot change the past, but I can absolutely change the future. For starters, I’ve decided in 2020, I am absolutely taking more personal time off work. There will be no more of me working long hours, doing beyond what is expected of me to be slapped in the face when I do it. If you don’t appreciate what I’m doing, perhaps you will appreciate it once you see what I did is no longer being done. Sometimes you have to give people a gut punch for them to realize enough is enough.

Next, I’m a firm believer that EVERYONE needs a day (at least 24 hours) to themselves. Some of us love the thought of just working nonstop, I used to be that person until I realized it burns you out, and once you’re burnt out, it takes a while for you to recover. It’s not as simple as having a day or two off; the mind is fried and it needs a bit of time to regenerate to get back to normal. Saturday is that day for me.

As a kid, I never knew what it was like to sleep in on the weekend and watch TV until you can’t watch it anymore. I was always working, particularly cutting lawns at the age of 7 or 8. After doing that for several years, I jumped right into working an actual job where I had no choice, but to work the weekends. So imagine most of your life always having to work the weekends and never having them off. It’s a terrible feeling. However, that has since changed. I have Saturdays off from my many jobs, and I have made it a mission to NOT WORK AT ALL.

I don’t care what happens on Saturdays, LEAVE ME ALONE! Some employers don’t understand what it means to let an employee have time off to spend with family or to themselves. I used to get annoyed by a constant barrage of texts and emails, but now I ignore them. I don’t check email at all, as I’ve come to the realization that the issue will be there tomorrow, so I’m not stressing about it till tomorrow. With my phone, I just don’t look at it. Put it away, stash it, feign ignorance because it’s the best way to prevent stress taking over.. If you’re not replying it’s a reason, and if they don’t catch a clue, that’s their problem not yours.

On top of that, it’s time for me to take more vacations. I mean who works years at a company and never takes a vacation. An idiot does, and I was that idiot for a long time, thinking if I took time off it would hurt me. It just recently dawned on me if a company doesn’t have the resources to have someone cover your shift or workload when you take a leave of absence, the company has some major issues and you need to reevaluate where you work.

You shouldn’t feel guilty about taking time off and a company shouldn’t ‘punish’ you for doing it. Get your ducks in order because things are going to happen where you CANNOT or you’re unable to work and when that does the company better have a backup plan or they’ll be the ones caught in a pickle not you. This sounds like a long rant, and I’m certain there are many of you out there who connect with me on these issues, but the biggest thing I’m doing in 2020 is focusing on my career endeavors.

There are things that I want to do that I have constantly placed to the side because of my focus on others. I’m not doing that anymore, 2020 is about me, and my wants, needs and desires. I’m going to be a bit selfish in the pursuit of doing things that make me happy, starting with more creative writing. Yes, I’m a writer and I’m a damn good writer at that, but it doesn’t mean I want to write just to write. I want my writing to have purpose, to have meaning, and more importantly I want it to be fulfilling.

I know my ability to write is a gift, and I’ve allowed that gift to go to waste because I haven’t focused my attention on my screenwriting, which is the one thing that brings utter joy in ways that nothing else does. The ideas that pop into my head, the stories I want to tell, the visions I have in my head, they are endless. They’re all there, but I’m not placing them on paper because my focus is elsewhere. I’m not doing that anymore, the focus will be on that and I’m going to turn this into a career. Of course I know it’s not going to happen overnight, heck I’ve been working at it for the past 5 years, but not to the degree where I’m investing my all into it.

I’m wasting time and I’m not getting any younger, it’s either now or never on this dream, which has made me realize time is the one thing in life you can never get back. When you waste it, it’s gone, so for 2020, my time will no longer be wasted. It’s precious and now it’s time for me to treat it that way.

Written By Zoe Mitchell