Another Monday morning and I’m hungover. Again.
Not from alcohol. From trying to outrun Father Time while cavorting with Mother Nature.
For over three decades, I would rise for breakfast, and rush for a train to take me to an office. About two-thirds of the way through those three decades, my husband and I moved to the suburbs, so that one train became two trains, and the longer commute meant I often had to rise before dawn.
That ended about two years ago.
I am lucky to have a job at my age. It was much harder for an unemployed someone, age 50 and older, to find a job during the recession. And it’s not much easier now, when things are allegedly improving. But I made friends along the way, and one of them found me my current job, for which I work from home.
When I had become a serious birder, I had wished I had more time out in the field – time that was spent working or commuting. But a funny thing happened now that I am home, with a commute measured in minutes rather than hours. I find I still don’t have enough time.
I used to get by on six to seven hours of sleep. Now, like a newborn baby, I crave eight to nine. It is a struggle some days, particularly Mondays, to rise from bed. I hear this year’s house wren busily singing his territorial song at the nestbox every dawn. Part of me wants to rise and see what else is out there. Usually, I go back to sleep.
Except on the weekends. After five days spent mainly in my house, I must get out. I must fit seven days of life into two: see my friends, work in my garden, walk in the woods, drive to another part of the state (with or without MH), and look for birds.
I rise early and walk and drive for miles. I climb. I pull weeds in the garden, and lift heavy pots. The hours fly by. I forget about things like age, and how I’m going to pay the bills.
Then, usually around 8 p.m. on Sunday, I pass out in my chair, spent. Somehow I get to bed. Suddenly, it’s Monday morning. Fifty-plus-year-old knees and back hurt. I’m exhausted, and I’m depressed – hungover yet again.
I don’t know if I am unusual. I see women older than I am walking every day on my street, no matter the weather. Most days I do take a pre-work walk and run short errands during my lunch break.
It’s just Mondays, when I am depressed, that I find that even though I work from home, I still don’t have the time to do what I want. Because this job is a contract position – the new reality for some of us in journalism – I get no paid holidays or personal days. No work, no pay. And so I must use the weekends to the fullest.
Welcome to the “golden years.”