It’s been five hours since you have arrived at work and you haven’t stood up once. Your shoulders are drawn forward to an unfortunate degree and your back has been reduced to only a mix of concave angles and stressed polyester stitches. Beside you sits an under-used pair of blue light glasses and over-used coffee cup — a rental unit to various hot beverages that always go cold before you evict them.
For the remainder of the day, you stare into a sea of emails steadily flooding the digital mailbox populating the rectangle monitor at your desk. You crack your knuckles at the sounds of the repeated notification bell yet wean yourself closer to the screen, eyes rejecting the artificial light that bleeds through it. You still disregard the glasses and click through the emails.
One email, one task. Another email, follow up. Make a phone call, jot down to follow up on the first task. Repeat, sip coffee, crack your neck, roll your shoulders, read more, do more, crack your knuckles, back to work, do it well, do it fast, handle it, continue on, sip some tea, blink fast.
Your day ends like any other day does while you exist at work, and only once your senior coworkers leave do you too gather your belongings and sneak down a winding set of stairs.
Dishevelled and defeated, you allow your commute to decompress you. You finally respond to the personal messages and calls, you massage your brain with online videos and friend’s posts.
But it is only when you arrive back at home, alone and with hours of manipulatable time ahead of you, do you feel yourself return. You wipe your shoes on the carpet and place them away, remove the clothes from your corporate character, and rush to complete whatever chores remain of the day before finally returning to what has been calling your name all day.
This week, it has been a new book - a critically acclaimed high-fantasy novel with greedy government bodies, an imminent rebellion, and multiple dark-haired and brooding love interests. Without thought, you crack your knuckles, roll your shoulders, and dive into the gentle waves of the words you hold.
Hours go by and you’ve gotten up a few times. You’ve made tea, you’ve researched theories, you’ve accidentally-on-purpose stumbled upon some fan-made character recreations. You’ve called your friend or your mom or your partner when the good stuff happens and the plot suddenly twists.
You scan the pages meticulously, craving every last word and digesting the information with ease. Your eyes are focused, alert, and searching for new hidden messages and answers to your hypotheses.
At the last sip of your tea and before embarking on the last chapter, you become inspired to develop your own interpretation of your favourite dark-haired, dark-horse rebel. You decide that after finishing the book during tomorrow’s lunch and after returning home after tomorrow’s commute you will begin your own rendition of his image. You finish the book tonight anyways.
At work the next day, the tension in your shoulders has dimmed and the light still shining through your monitor matches what you feel inside of your chest. Your thoughts of doing well return while the emails pile in, but the mantra you repeated yesterday has improved every so slightly.
One email, one task. Another email, a burst of excitement for tonight. Make a phone call, jot down an idea for the colour scheme. Answer the phone, complete a task, walk to your coworker’s desk who read the same book, and take five minutes to discuss. Come back, do more, crack your knuckles, do your work, do it well, continue on, sip some tea.
You arrive back at home after the doable day and immediately sink back into your doable evening. You embark on yet another journey that transcends your mind from the stressful necessaries of today to the uncomplicated pleasures of your free time.
Basking in the contrast of night and day, you feel satisfied that these tiny specks of happiness brought upon by your interests can brighten up the monotony of life. They’re never grand nor flashy, but enough to keep the fire burning within you. Your hobbies and the ability to find fulfilment with them during these after hours provide you with small slivers of reusable, renewable bliss.