Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Existential thoughts on the commute home

I’m commuting to a client an hour away this week. Last night, as I was driving home in the dark, with sideways rain and wind so strong I had to focus on keeping the car on the road, I wondered what the point of it all was. I was on my way to pick up the kids at my mom’s. She would have already fed them dinner. Ten hour workdays, plus lunch, plus an hour drive each way means I left before they woke up and put them straight to bed once we got home. It’s only for a week (usually my commute is 20 minutes) and my “week” is only 4 days. So I’m not complaining. I’m not even particularly bothered by it – it’ll be over soon. I was just wondering what the point was. I cram my “almost full time” workweek into 3 ½ days every week. Even without an hour commute, I only see my kids for an hour and a half, maybe two on those days. Am I making the right decision here? Should I work 4 shorter days? Five? Not work at all?

The radio started playing “I’m in a hurry” by Alabama. It was rather ironic – “I’m in a hurry to get things done. Oh I rush and rush until life's no fun. All I really gotta do is live and die, but I'm in a hurry and don't know why.”

The words aren’t the point, though. (I’m not THAT lame.) I was in a time management training last summer – the day Paul was born, actually – and the instructor referenced the song. Probably something about how if you manage your time wisely, you won’t have to rush. After class let out someone wondered aloud who sang that song. I said I was pretty sure it was Alabama, but someone else was convinced it was Lonestar. I sat in the car last night trying to remember which coworker that was.

Then it came to me. The dead one.

I mentioned this on Twitter when it happened, but never wrote about it here. Last month, one of my coworkers didn’t show up for work. The office called his emergency contact, who went to check on him and found him already gone. A blood clot formed in his lungs, then traveled to his heart. They think he probably coughed, which shook the clot loose, then collapsed.

You might think this leads to some epiphany where I decide to quit my job and live on nothing but love. That’s not what I was thinking, though. I guess I just decided at least I DO get to spend time with my family, however short, every day. I might not always be doing what I want to do, but at least I’m here, right? I was on my way to see my babies. I get to spend 3 ½ days with them every week. I think that’s pretty lucky.


  1. Ugh...this is so what we are dealing with right now. I feel like I get so little time at home and, when I am there, it is a constant, nonstop rush until we fall into bed. I would love to quit my job but that's not an option for us. I would love for our schedules to slow down but I don't see it happening. I am tired of being exhausted and what that does to me emotionally. Something has to give but I'm not sure what or how.

  2. 3.5 days sounds pretty good. Quitting jobs and living on love sounds appealing in some ways, but it just isn't all that possible most of the time. You seem like you're doing a great job and spending a good amount of your time with your kids. If you're overall happy (not every moment, but in general), then you're doing fine.

  3. I feel this way all the time. All. The. Time.

    I tagged you in a meme, if you are feeling so inclined!

  4. I'm right there with ya... even doing similar work days. I find that the extra days off in a row are more helpful while he's little. I don't know how I'll feel when he's bigger..

    I wish we could all have the choice over how much to work.