It’s only January 28th and it’s already been an interesting year. The thing that’s had the most impact has been a change in my work schedule. I used to work full time, averaging 40-50 hours a week, sometimes more if I was traveling.
For years I’ve said I’d like to work 3 days a week so that I could travel on long weekends. Be careful. You might get what you ask for. This year during my contract renewal process my client told me that they’d had dramatic budget cuts and they were going to have to cut my budget by 25%.
I said that the only way we could do that is if I cut my hours to 24 a week. And so here I am working 3 days a week. A couple of things. First, it’s what I’ve been asking for and in some ways I like the notion of only having to be on call 3 days a week. But on the other hand, I got caught off guard and felt a little insulted. And once I started the new schedule, working only 3 days a week felt so odd. I’ve been working full time since I was about 25, and I don’t really know how to do part-time.
But. You know me. I figure shit out. I spent the first week wondering what in the world I would do with 2 extra days off each week, feeling a little overwhelmed and slightly daunted, worrying what I’d actually do with all that extra time.
And then I started to realize that this was freakin’ amazing! I can do all those things I’ve been wanting to do for years but never seem to find the time to do. I decided I would plan specific things each week so that I wouldn’t find myself sitting at my computer, working, just out of habit (which could easily happen for me).
And when I thought about what I’d like to do, I decided that the thing I wanted most of all was to find activities that feed my soul. And suddenly Monday’s and Friday’s are my new favorite days of the week, as I search my heart to find what is it that I want to do to fill it up.
My first trip was to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. I’d been to the outside with the memorial pools, about 5 years ago, but I never got around to going to the museum. I went on a rainy, cold day and the city was quiet, not crowded the way it would be on a weekend. It was the perfect kind of day to revisit that terrible time that I remember so well.
The memorial is beautiful and horrible and achingly sad. It brought back so many memories of that time in our lives. I was crying within minutes of walking into the building and kept a balled up tissue in my hands, as I wound through the various sections of the museum. It’s very well done, and takes you on a story of how the buildings were first built, then to the events on the day of 9/11 and finally, to the aftermath.
The most powerfully intense section for me was the room devoted to the first days of the recovery. I remember how eventually over the first day or two, we all began to realize that there wouldn’t be any survivors.
Only 11 people were pulled alive from the rubble of Ground Zero and the recovery efforts to clean it up took eight months and 19 days. We used to see the trucks going back and forth to the Arthur Kill where they pored through the rubble trying to find remains to share with families, to help provide some type of closure.
I hope you have the chance to visit it. It’s a moment in our history that has impacted our country and the world in ways that no one could have anticipated and it’s important to bear witness to what happened. Bring tissues and plan to spend at least two hours.
Another possible benefit to these two extra days a week is that I’ll have time to get back to blogging, so let’s see how that goes!