I used to work nights. Eight months ago, I started working days. Besides the obvious advantages to getting off work at five, I’ve discovered something I never thought I’d really care about. The evening. More specifically, an evening without plans.
An evening without plans – without worry, without obligations, without any sort of merit whatsoever – might be the greatest and most overlooked thing in life. I’m still becoming accustomed to the nights when I have nothing to do – when I can sit around and catch up on whatever it is I might want to catch up on.
Before, what seems like an entire career ago, I didn’t have evenings. I couldn’t enjoy the end of the day, because the end of the day involved getting home from work and going to sleep. My evenings were had during the day, from when I woke up until I went to work, and those evenings were punctuated by a hanging cloud of dread.
Now, I don’t dread my job. I don’t mind going to bed, getting up the next day, etc. I’ve had a night to recharge. And, it’s freed up a world of leisure opportunities.
I always meant to make use of my waking day hours, but I couldn’t. There are things that my body just can’t wrap itself around before work – things that only make sense as an after work activity. I couldn’t drag myself to the YMCA to work out. I couldn’t comprehend watching movies at noon, or reading, or doing anything except vegging out on the Internet for three hours before pushing myself into the car and on to work.
I’m a different person now. I feel free, as if a whole world has opened up in front of me. I’m gradually learning its ins and outs – even after eight months. Sure, I still manage to fill my evenings with activities – with television and books and sports and friends and exercising and all of the other boring things that a pseudo-suburban neo-yuppie does. But it’s the nights that I have nothing to do – a complete freedom from 5PM to 11PM – that I realize how important it is to take the night off and forget about work.
Here’s to evenings. Let them always be empty and fruitless.