Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sweet Bliss

**If I had an extra hour each day, perhaps I could remember to put my posts up on time.  Other Wonderers have jobs and/or kids, but for some reason I'm the Queen of Unreliability.  Blerg.  I have Outlook calendared the next several months of WW blogs, and do solemnly swear not to be late anymore.  Amen.**

I originally titled this Sixty Minutes of Bliss, but I thought that sounded too much like the title of a dirty movie . . .

I am unique among the Wondering Women of this blog, in that I probably have the most clear record of how every minute of my time is spent these days.  That is because as an attorney at a defense firm, I have to track every tenth of an hour of my working day.  (The tenths I'm spending on this blog go down as "personal time" - no details!)  And every tenth of an hour brings in dollars for my firm, so the more tenths I bill out to a client, the happier my employers are.

In a way, I like this arrangement.  It allows me to do all manner of parental and personal things while simultaneously proving that I've put in my 8-10-12 hours a day.  I go to my kids' 2:30pm holiday parties at their school whenever they have one, I am regularly late in the mornings because my older child cannot eat three graham crackers in less than forty minutes, I will cut out early once in a while for date night, and I even was out of the office two days last month to go visit my newly born niece.  Remote access software allows me to bill remotely, and I often open up the laptop and bill a few hours at night after the kids are asleep, or put in an hour or two during their naptimes on weekends.  These night/weekend hours buy me the daytime flexibility that allows me to go to Jake's Valentines Day party or Cubby's Mardi Gras parade, and I'm happy for the tradeoff.  I'm also happy that my productivity can be noted on a page, graphed on a chart.  This eliminates some of the inevitable negative bias that many mothers suffer in the workplace - even one so forward-thinking and progressive as mine.

In another way, I don't like this arrangement.  It takes a great deal of mental exercise not to think of every hour of my day and night as one that must be billed.  I nearly wept on Monday when I realized I'd driven all the way across the bay to the boys' daycare and my work . . . WITHOUT my parking and elevator pass.  Without those two items, I cannot park or get into my office, and as I'd also left my phone at home, I couldn't even call and see if the husband was willing to deliver them to me.  Driving home and back again represented a loss of 8/10 of an hour, and I got pretty much no quality out of that bonus, unplanned-for time off.  Time off, measured in six minute increments, becomes something like calories - if I'm going to spend it, I want it to be AMAZING and THE BEST, because I don't get much wiggle room.  And that stupid mistake was like eating a piece of chocolate cake that was STALE.  Looking at the world through these kind of glasses can be harmful in all the ways you can imagine, and I'm working hard to figure out ways to handle my uber-structured schedule without losing my ever-loving mind.

This is a long way of saying that I don't take my hours lightly.  I have to plan them meticulously, down to every tenth, and run calculations on a daily basis to make sure I'm meeting my goals.  If I had an extra hour every day that belonged to no one but me . . .

Well, I can assure you I wouldn't use it to bill.

And since the world is frozen, I couldn't really use it to love on my boys, since that would be a very one-sided activity.

I'd love to use it to read - oh lordy, read a book without interruption! - or to watch some of the tv that I really want to experience.  (The Wire, and The United States of Tara, e.g.) 

But honestly?  At this point in life, right now, what I need more than anything is quiet time. Meditation. Yoga.  A nap.

I think if I had 25 hours in a day, one of which was all just for me, I would probably take it in the early afternoon.  While everyone at work is frozen, I'd wander down to an empty office and do half an hour of yoga or tai chi - some kind of exercise meant to make my body feel good and my mind go blank.  Then I'd lay down with a body pillow and some blankets, and stare out the 20th story window onto the lovely blue waters of Mobile Bay. I'd watch ships go in and out, and maybe close my eyes a few minutes.  My phone wouldn't come with me.  There'd be no notifications, no voicemail or email, no noise, no dictaphone, no notebook, no opportunity to do any activity except be still.  It would be so restorative, and reset a modern brain that has become trained to check electronic devices every five minutes.  It would be an hour without interruption, during which nothing is required of me, and I won't even have to worry about making it up by billing extra on some later day, because it's extra bonus time.

Yeah.  That would be sweet, sweet bliss.  Sixty minutes of it.  Much better than any dirty movie, for sure!


Wicked M said...

Totally get your hours being billed but for different reasons. Love this topic and your post is lovely -- as always.

MSO Rin said...

Don't feel bad ... I cheated this week and didn't get my Monday post up until it was technically Tuesday Eastern time. I turned back the clock on the time stamp. And I won't apologize--it was only 10:05P at my house! :)

I blissed out a bit just from your description of your blissed-out hour. Thanks [contented sigh].

MSO Rin said...
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