Today’s blog post is going to sound a little “taking things for granted,” sprinkled with some “the grass is always greener on the other side.” Please indulge me, recognizing that I have been a full-time freelance writer for just a few months shy of a full decade now. During that time, I have worked (almost) exclusively out of my home office with all the perks and pitfalls that accompany such an arrangement. Take, for instance, that there is no such thing as “going home after a long day at work” for me.
Because I’m already home.
The New Normal
This isn’t the case for most people and I fall outside the norm in more ways than I can count. Back when I did have a “regular” job, though, I was understandably the kind of person who would watch the clock. “Oh, it’s just another hour,” I’d think to myself, “before we can call it quits and enjoy the weekend.” TGIF, indeed.
Interestingly, it’s not so much about the actual commute of going home from the office that’s at play here. It’s not even really about the weekend and whatever activities those couple of days may hold. It’s about the anticipation. And the anticipation of finally being able to go home after a particularly exhausting or strenuous day at work is a feeling that is lost on those of us who work from home. We don’t get that sense, because we don’t get to “go home.” And, for many of us, we aren’t really ever completely off the clock either.
And I think I miss that, especially since the anticipation can oftentimes be even greater than the realization. Waiting to get your hands on that new smartphone can be more exciting than when you actually buy the thing. Looking forward to your fabulous vacation can provide more happiness than the actual holiday itself.
A Natural Homebody
Don’t get me wrong. This freelance lifestyle certainly has its advantages and I’m hardly itching to get back into a “normal” 9-to-5 kind of routine. It has rewarded me with the opportunity to be a full-time stay-at-home dad in a society where paternal leave is minimal at best. And that’s far more valuable to me than the temporary bliss of anticipating a weekend with my daughter.
I don’t get paid sick days. I don’t get paid vacation and I have no company health plan. There’s no IT department, no office parties, no free coffee in the break room.
But my commute consists of walking from the living room to my home office. Maybe I can experience this feeling of “going home” after a challenging day at the office. It’s just that the feeling will be even more fleeting; I just have to stand up from my chair and walk back to the living room.