The 5 to 9.

The vast majority of people I know work a 9-to-5, in some way, shape or form; you know what I mean, full time, somehow. I fear that in the work-life balance triangle, career-relationships-self care, I have hypothetically circled work as one of my designated two and the typical millennial attitude that society think is inside me rages (apparently you can have two, but not all three). But at the same time, people ask, “How are you, what’s new?” and I reply, “Oh, nothing, just working.” Where do we exactly lose ourselves in this routine? Why can’t we have all three?

I feel that many of the people my age are caught up in the hustle of trying to advance in their job, not lose their friends and keep the family happy. But let’s take a look at self-care, the one that gets thrown to the wayside most of the time, at least for me. What happens in the 5 to 9? How about the 60 hours between your 6 pm Friday Happy Hour and the 6 am Hell of your Monday alarm clock? That’s a lot of time not to be checking your email – to be free of the grasp of work.

In reality, “oh, nothing, just working,” is a lie. I am creating my own microadventures.  Some days, I hike with my dog, making an attempt to walk every trail on the park map, and working on completing the 52 Hike Challenge this year. Other days, I am working out to get ready for ski season so I don’t repeat what happened this season. I am squeezing in Arizona to visit my best friend and tour the hell out of a bunch of National Parks. I am planning another weekend trip to Ricketts Glen. Why does “just working” come out of my mouth?

Maybe it’s so people can relate. I used to get upset about how I don’t have many friends who enjoy skiing or snowboarding anymore, or the thought that nobody wants to hike with me. My problem was, I never asked. With the belief that people are caught up in their jobs, I also believe that not one of my friends would say, “no” to a 2-hour hike. And I know a few acquaintances would me more than happy to join me on the slopes for the day. If I told people what I was doing, they’d probably come. It may take some coaxing to get out of their work state of mind, and even more so to unplug, but I’d love to inspire others that think they just can’t, to take a microadventure of their own. After all, you can have one out in the backyard, no traveling required. This is my kind of 5-to-9. Get out there and enjoy it.

Backyard camping with a pool and a tent.

This post was inspired by this article from the editor of Outside Magazine.


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