The Joy of Leaving Work…On Time

One of the first things we learned on our cross-country road trips was the importance of timing: if we didn’t stop to eat lunch by noon we were cranky and whiney. No one wants to travel with a cranky companion, therefore, whether it was Burger King or a lovely sit down meal, we ate by noon; no exceptions. I am sure that on the Coast to Coast we will adopt some type of similar strategy.

For the past decade I have kept a postcard above my desk that depicts a highway with three exit signs: Stressed Out; Sleep Deprived; Working for Weekends and Holidays. I’ve always found myself to be the latter. In yoga and pilates classes the instructors always have to remind me to breathe and are always fascinated by how infrequently I breathe, to quote my first yoga instructor: Yoga is not supposed to be this difficult! Unfortunately I save a lot of my breathing for weekends and holidays. It’s something I am actively working to remedy.

Today, for the first time in I cannot tell you how long, I had the opportunity to leave work…on time. Most days I am not home until about 7pm or later. When my parents were first married, my father worked nights and holidays and my mom worked 9 to 5; they rarely saw one another. Teasingly, my mother affirms that this is the reason that they have been married so long. Although we don’t have the same oppositional schedules, it is hard to catch one another during the week. Sometimes it seems that our living takes place on weekends in holidays.

Leaving work on time meant no traffic, a few moments to unwind before my husband came home, and the time we spent together was better than the time we usually spend on a Tuesday night because we got the best of one another. I have the most energy in the morning; this is why I go to the gym around 6am. I am my kindest, most relaxed self before 7pm. I can’t always be home before 7pm, but it’s better for everyone when I am. Can’t wait for the Coast to Coast where we can make our own time.

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About 30 Ways of Walking

Gina Liotta's writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in The New York Quarterly, Slate, The Paterson Literary Review, LIPS, and The Healing Muse, among others. She lives, writes and teaches in New York.
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