knight.jpgAs the little dwarfs are wont to sing, “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go.” Except it’s just me…and I’m not singing nor whistling…but alas, I am off to work. Bummer.

Today I go back to the office, back to the salt mine, the grind, the 9-to-5, the whatever-passes-as-a-nickname term for one’s day job. After sitting out over a month, it will be nice to slip back into the old routine, but I have to admit my brief dance with retirement life was mighty tasty. Some benefits I’ve experienced in the last thirty days or so:

  • No-alarm mornings – I’ve heard of people who live like this but never thought I could wake up without an alarm to nudge me into the world. Amazing.
    Slower days – Without the usual full day at the office bookended by a pair of weekend days partly spent doing the errands I couldn’t do during the week, the days progress more slowly. Nice.
    Drive-time commutes? Fuggetaboutit – How nice is it to be still in jammies and sipping coffee at the breakfast table while listening to bad traffic and weather reports? Oh yeah…
    No dry cleaning – No office time, no dry cleaning. Sweet.
    Stigmaless days – When you don’t work, there’s little difference between Tuesday and Sunday. Monday loses its dread, but Friday doesn’t have that feeling of release after a long work-week. Still, a good thing.
    Leveled happiness – For the last month I’ve been happy every day, instead of the usual up-and-down nature of a typical work-week. Very cool.

Of course there are a few negatives, but the only one of note is the obvious: at some point bills must be paid and the allure of being workless thus comes to a grinding halt. But overall, given the chance, I’d figure out how to survive days into weeks into months into years of doing what I’ve done over the last thirty days. In the meantime, however, I need to finish writing this, do my exercises, then get ready and go off to work, whistling optional. The only real challenge this morning is not getting up, but making sure I leave for the office a little early…just in case I have trouble finding it.

Picture taken at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art from their excellent display of late-medieval period (and beyond) armor.

3 thoughts on “Heigh-Ho

  1. Jean

    Hi Gary, I keep popping on over here from Lorianne’s place so thought it was time to say hello. As a fellow aspirant to get out of the 9-5 grind, I find your description of what was different about the past month most accurate and poignant. I think a life of fixed working/commuting hours, amongst other things, makes living in the present – which is never easy – much harder. Hope the coming year brings you (and me!) a less regimented lifestyle.

  2. Since Jean brought my name up, I might as well comment, too… 🙂 As someone who teaches both face-to-face and online classes, I agree that free-form scheduling is better for most folks…*if* they have the self-discipline to work without supervision! My traditional-aged F2F students typically need set deadlines, attendance policies, etc…but my older online students are good at squeezing a given task into the “gaps” of free time they have between work, family, etc. (A lot of them, for instance, do their school work in the wee hours when children & spouses are asleep!)

    In other words, I think the standard workweek reflects a belief that workers need to be “supervised” in order to be productive. It takes an exemplary boss (or a certain kind of work?) to allow a person to work according to their own rhythms and productivities.

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