Today is Sunday, or so I’ve been told. I also found out it was Daylight Savings Time in the U.S., so you guys are an hour closer to me now. Congratulations?
Time and calendars and schedules…they’re all a bit much sometimes. The last time I had what’s considered to be a “regular” work schedule was July 2012. Since then, I work some days, and other days I don’t. Or I work a little bit every day. Or I blur the line between work and personal life, because I get paid to talk about my life. Good thing I love to talk, and to write!
The thing is, I took Lina for a walk this afternoon and it felt weird because it wasn’t like our walks on other days. There is a very distinct difference between a weekend and a weekday around here. Businesses have different hours – or they’re closed entirely. Official soccer games are happening instead of the usual kick-around with a random group of kids I tend to see after school. There are fewer cars on the road, but more people smoking cigarettes outside the pubs. The neighbhorhoods are eerily quiet though. Shouldn’t they be louder on a weekend when people are home? Maybe people aren’t home; maybe they’re shopping, or playing in that organized soccer game over there instead.
It seems that the majority of people work on the same schedule, so they do other things on the same schedule, too. Eat dinner around 7pm after work. Maybe go to the gym after 5pm. Definitely add to traffic between 7-9am. Crowd the buses, but don’t make eye contact.
I didn’t see this while living in Roatan, mostly because everyone works every day in the tourism industry. There was no clear delineation between traditional “workdays” and “weekends.” Instead, there were cruise ship days; there was busy season and slow season; there was rainy season. But days of the week didn’t matter and a week never “ended.”
Working different hours from the norm exposes me to an entirely different world. Lina and I chase the sun, heading out whenever it inevitably pokes out from behind the more standard Scottish clouds. The Irish-Colombian and I eat when he’s not working. Sometimes that means dinner is at midnight. Sometimes we lay in bed and watch a movie on the projector on the ceiling so we don’t even have to get up in the morning. And sometimes we get really disappointed when we go to the butcher and then have to check our phones to realize it’s Sunday – that’s why the door is locked.
Working different hours and following an unconventional schedule means I have an entirely different concept of time. It is fluid. It doesn’t confine me. My weeks don’t end. There is no definitive marking of time in my world.
In fact, when I look back over the last several years of living away from the traditional 9-5 lifestyle, I realize that I’ve really only marked my time in celebratory moments. There were weddings and birthdays, Christmas celebrations and that Easter egg hunt; there were surprises and revelations, plus plenty of moments of discovery and brilliance.
I used to mark my time by happy hours after work, Jazz in the Garden on Fridays, and long Saturday morning runs. There was a routine, a schedule to follow – even though it was filled with fun events, too! It was still a set timeframe to work around an entire chunk of office hours every week.
I have no idea what day of the week it was that I watched a mama guatusa walk through our yard with a giant mango in her mouth, little babies dutifully stumbling along behind her. It made me giggle though, I remember that.
I have no clue what part of a week it was when I ecstatically realized that I could sustainably make a living off of writing. I’d added up enough regular clients and had enough months under my belt to feel confident identifying myself as a Writer. But it felt amazing, whenever it was. I do remember that.
I haven’t the faintest idea what time it was when we decided to embark on a new adventure in another country, booking the flights and sending out the first few emails to make it official. It was scary and exciting and it made me feel the need to do a stupid little dance, I remember that.
I know the sun has risen and the stars have shimmered, and I know that we have circled around the sun a few times. I know that I can no longer see Lina’s ribs on her skinny frame, and that the black hair dye I randomly used before quitting my 9-5 eventually did grow out on its own.
I know that I have worked, and played, and traveled, and loved, and laughed, and done a million things in every little moment since I left that traditional life. I have had so many moments that couldn’t be marked by clocks and calendars. Instead, I guess they’re probably marked by the laugh lines on my face.
That’s my favorite mark of time anyway. It’s the only one that matters in the end…whenever that is.
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