• Simone Arthur

Embracing the Bohemian Lifestyle

Surface (oil 1999)

In a way, my first week of freedom was uneventful. However, hidden in the calmness of my self-structured days lives a pervasive undercurrent of anxiety. The ever-present question is, “Can I do this?” I admit that I am a workaholic by nature, however, I do still like to take naps. Having enough free time to count pennies has been a longstanding ambition of mine—this will probably never happen since counting pennies is a waste of time. Essentially, I spend every waking moment thinking, “How do I make this new life work. What is this life? What is it that I want from this experience?”

Self portrait. (2018 mixed media)

What I want sounds simplistic. I want my days to feel worthwhile I want to have fulfilling social interactions and not feel exhausted all of the time. I don’t sleep a lot. I never have. I'd go as far to say that my life would have been different if I were able to sleep at night. I need 5 hours of sleep to function, 6-8 to function well, and I have never gotten those hours of sleep all

at once. The past 8 to 9 months have been

a struggle as I've worked almost every day

in preparation for my departure from the


New life, new do. Really, I don't take tie to maintain longer hair. It's been a ponytail every day. Snip, Snip. I love it! Wash and go.

My average schedule during these past few months has consisted of starting my day between 6:30 - 7 am and going to bed around 2 or 3 am. With so much to do, I never feel like I have enough time. Working this way resulted in me not having time to take care of myself. The first things to go were doing my hair and makeup. Next, went my exercise routine. Later, my eating habits went out the window. Meals were bought from the convenience store downstairs and eaten either at my desk or while standing in the kitchen. Knowing that these sacrifices were only for a short amount of time made them acceptable to me.

Now that I have more time, it is time to rebuild my past healthier habits.This past weeks, I’ve been trying to balance my need for self-care with productivity. I’ve been busy, but I still feel slightly guilty about taking naps and going for walks. I wake up at 7:30 , have coffee, take a short walk, working on my writing, check emails, and social media for new leads. I also draft contracts and respond to inquiries. At times, my morning routine is replaced with writing proposals or completing assignments for freelance gigs. Additionally there are always those trips to the bank, post office, doctors, and other thrilling errands.

One of my favorite things about Thailand is the delicious food. Yum! No more convenience store meals.

During the day, I take my first break from about noon to 2 pm. I can then eat my first meal of the day, walk again, and take a short nap—siestas should be a way of life for everyone. After my nap, it’s time for coffee and art.

One thing that I've been conscious about is to not eat super late. In the past, my last meal of the day was often happening around 11 pm. Now, I break for dinner around 5:30. This gives me enough time to eat and get ready for my evening freelance work. From midnight to 2 or 3 am, I write, do art research, sketch, and make time for myself until I’m off to bed.

When I put it on paper, it seems like an acceptable schedule, but the guilt is strong. How dear I enjoy the sunshine, taking a coffee break, and looking at art? Don’t even get me started on the siestas. Yes, I feel guilty. I feel guilty for taking time for myself and taking a chance to build the life for myself that I've dreamt of for so long.

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