The fourth century Desert Mothers and Fathers – who at first lived as hermits and later formed the earliest Christian monasteries in northern Egypt – had a word for the impulse to devalue the present moment: acedia. They numbered it among the eight “bad thoughts” that threaten monastic life, alongside more familiar demons like anger, lust, and pride. . . . Acedia gets you to wish your life away in anticipation of something that will validate your worth as a person. If you feel lonely and anxious in your work now, then maybe you’ll feel better at that meeting tomorrow, or when you get a new project next week, or after you get a new job altogether.

I worked as a college professor and had summers off, but they were anything but breezy. I was clearly doing something wrong with my time.