For the longest time I did nothing on school nights. I was a teacher, so the term school night wasn’t even a metaphor. When your alarm goes off at 5 am, there really isn’t enough time between dinner and the sunrise to do anything. But since moving to the 9-5 world, when it could have gotten better, I actually think it got worse. I know I am not the only person to fall privy to the rut that is weeknights.
I didn’t realize what a rut I was in for a while. For a bit, it was simply that I was trying to play catch up with the clock. By the time I got home, I would be starving, and would immediately start cooking dinner. If I could wait to eat, I would run to a barre class real fast, then come home and cook. When all was said and done, it would already be 8 o’clock, and if I had a load of laundry to do or something of the like, I wouldn’t be finished until it was already time for bed. Who is going to plan to do something fun at 9 pm? At that point all I want is my pajamas, and maybe some gummy bears.
While totally understandable, this is actually a huge problem. It makes me hate the workweek. When you separate into “school nights” and “weekend” you realize that the amount of time that you spend on your actual life versus the amount of hours that you spend on your job, going to your job, and recovering from your job, is out of proportion.
I enjoy my job, and I am grateful for it. At the end of the day, however, it is honestly just my way to pay the bills. This isn’t a bad thing – not at all! I know that there are some people who genuinely find such joy and fulfillment in their jobs. I am happy for these people, and I truly hope it stays that way. For me, though, the awareness that my job is just the means for which I pay my rent helps me keep a healthy amount of distance, and provides me with the reminder that just because it is the work week does not mean that I shouldn’t be putting the happiness of both my family, and myself, first.
All of this is my long windup to my new theory: you should go out on school nights. I don’t mean to go to crazy bars or clubs and make it impossible to wake up in the morning. Far from it! I do think it is important, however, to make a plan for at least one after work activity. Putting something on the calendar holds you accountable for actually following through, and despite the fact that around 4 pm I am always thinking “why did I make plans? I just want to go sit on my couch” that is the exact reason why plans are necessary. Never once have I gone out on a school night and been on the way home thinking “man, a few episodes of That 70’s Show on Netflix would have been better than that.”
Go out to dinner with another couple, get drinks with an old friend, go see a movie. Almost every option that you could think of allows you to still be home by 10, so you will get plenty of sleep. The best part? When you walk in to work the next day, you will go in with a wee bit less stress because you will be reminded how full and complete your life is. It doesn’t matter what happens at work because you simply need to put in your hours. When you go out on school nights you are no longer “workin for the weekend.” Every day has the ability to be filled with just as much joy as the weekend. There is no rule that says that you don’t get to have fun on weeknights. We are over the age of ten, so we won’t get in trouble!