Working towards a semblance of a normal weekend

img_20170204_174752_639.jpgIt’s Sunday morning as you read this. You might be waking up late, having a leisurely breakfast while reading the New York Times. Maybe you’ll putz around the house for a bit, then go on a walk. You know, a Sunday.

Me? I’m at work.

In the almost 27 years of my work life (gawd, has it been that long?) rarely have I worked a normal 9 to 5, Monday through Friday type of job. I’ve worked too long in retail and hospitality, businesses that have night hours and weekend hours. I’ve been at the hostel for eleven years this month (gawd, has it been that long?) By no means is it a perfect job, but I still mostly like it. Or it’s just become too easy and familiar. Sure, I’m going to leave at some point, but not soon.

But the big problem is the lack of a “traditional” schedule. My days off fall in the middle of the week, Tuesday and Wednesday for the past several years. And while this used to not bother me that much, lately it has. It’s mostly due to the fact that most fun things happen on the true weekend. When I was younger, I would just say f– it and stay out way late at the party, get a few hours of sleep, and then show up for work Saturday or Sunday morning. As my body ages, that isn’t a viable option anymore. I need at least (at least) six hours of sleep, or I’ll feel like total shit the next day. Even six hours really isn’t enough, I’d like seven to nine.

And when I was younger and my friends were all younger too, working those same irregular jobs as I was, it was easier to find others that could do fun stuff with you on a Tuesday. Now? Not so. Everyone’s older with real professional jobs, and Saturday and Sundays off. That’s when people do stuff. Now it is true that if I know far enough in advance, I could get a weekend day off. But I don’t always know far enough in advance. And there’s those folks that don’t plan anything more than 48 hours in advance. Try rearranging your work schedule on the fly.

Over time, I started to build this…resentfulness and jealousy towards those that had weekends off. Especially when I would get reports of the adventures they had over the weekend, the time I’d be at work, not having an adventure.

Still, I tried to soldier on, and do fun things by myself on my days off. But sometimes it’s hard to motivate oneself. Sometimes I’d like to do stuff with others, especially when it’s things like camping in winter. (Solo winter camping can be pretty lonely.) Or sometimes I’d like my days off to feel like it’s a weekend. It’s easier to have that leisurely “sleep late, eat breakfast while reading the Times” when it’s a Sunday. On my Tuesdays or Wednesdays, I feel like I need to be productive, even if I have the right to do nothing.

But a change is in the works. In a couple weeks, my days off switch to Sundays and Mondays. While it is isn’t a full weekend, it is a hell of a lot better than no weekend. (And right now with manager coverage, I need to be around Saturdays.) Now, I will automatically have Sundays off, so I can easily plan fun things on that day. And I will be able to do whatever comes up on a Sunday. I can even go weekend bike camping with others, if the destination is close enough that I can reach it after working my Saturday morning shift!

And all of that makes me happy. While if something happens on a Saturday that I really want to do, I’d have to finagle the schedule, it’s nice to know that there’s one weekend day I can easily do stuff with other people. Even thinking about this, my mental mood has been lifted. I guess I didn’t realize how much working every weekend was mentally draining on me.

And I still get the bonus of having a weekday off. So that means being able to go to places when it’s less crowded, or doing errands easily.

Now that I have Sundays off, I need to plan a ride…


9 thoughts on “Working towards a semblance of a normal weekend

  1. Yep, and geography, like work schedules, can also limit socialization.

    During my lunch break, I often check in with my cycling friends and inspiration across the country. The ones out there on grand adventures made choices allowing them to be there. Some of those choices are ones I would not be willing to make. Others, however, are ones for which I am beginning to muster the courage.

    I made one four years ago. I took a substantial pay cut and switched jobs that required me to increase the distance to my office from 20 miles to 50 miles (one way). But, believe it or not, it resulted in LESS driving, and MORE free time. I have my eyes on a couple of other lifestyle choices that might support more outdoor adventures. But there is a price to pay, and it certainly isn’t cheap.

  2. Change is very difficult, more so as we age. I like creature comforts, being in control, etc. I went from a very satisfying part-time job (that had run its course, very much like it sounds like yours has) to a scary full-time position, but the benefits have come in spades: closer to home, I can ride year-round, take a bus, job growth, creativity, and benefits for when my husband retires. Leaping to a new adventure is frightening, but every time I’ve done it, I’ve grown in ways I never thought possible.

  3. I used to work crazy shifts which somehow managed to ruin nearly every weekend as the hours worked changed. Up side was that mid week I often had the world to myself to ride. Now roads seem busy at all times so not so much fun. Time off when the 9 ’til 5ers toil always felt sweeter.

    • Agreed. There is a certain joy in having a weekday off when things are less busy, esp. in summer when recreational areas can be choked with traffic and campgrounds jammed. But over the years being able to do things with others is winning out with me. Thankfully, the Sunday/Monday time off seems to be the best of both worlds.

  4. Great! Hope to see you around more. Worked in hospitality for 6+ years in another life and Sun/Mon was the sweet spot. -nb

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