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I’ve realized I’ve begun to base my life around how many days until my next day off. I was just off a day. My next day off is in three days. I literally just had a day off.

The fact that I am at the phase, or point or stage or whatever of my life that I am basing my life around when I don’t have to work is disappointing. Starting the countdown over again after a day off.

I do not work the same schedule as typical Americans. The average schedule is 9-5 Monday through Friday. The good ol’ 9-5. You hear it in movies and tv shows, newspapers and books and magazines. But not me, no.

I’m a lowly retail worker. We don’t close at 5 or 6 on Friday and open back up at 8 or 9 on Monday. Hour current store hours are 6am to 11pm seven days a week. I’m lucky enough to have gotten, after almost fourteen long years, a stable schedule working the same time every day. But I don’t get weekend off unless I ask for it. And even then it has to be approved my management.

Now, I already know that this living “day off to day off” is a symptom of not loving my job. While there are aspects of my job I do enjoy, and several I have grown to love appreciate, I do not love my job, either parts of it or it’s entirety.

This is a fact of life for many Americans. The majority of which (which I am a part of) simply cannot afford a career change, for one reason or another. So they are stuck in the path they have made and cannot fathom divergence from it.

Personally, I made some decisions early on and over the course of multiple years that led me to not leaving this path.

Think of it like this: you’re young and walking along a road. For several miles it is one lane, one direction. And then suddenly the road widens. Then signs up ahead warn you adulthood is approaching. Once you reach, more signs. Signs telling you “this way for higher education” whether that be trade school or college.

But the path varies for each individual. After college my path divided. Warning signs stated, “try for texting jobs ahead” and “take time off”. Guess which path I chose?

Then there was the marriage path. And then, again, “try to teach” and “job. Now.” I didn’t want my new husband to have to keep paying my student loan payment.

And after that the rest doesn’t matter. Because I quickly passed the detours for teaching and never realized until too late that I’d run out of chances. Except that once, when I interviewed for a teaching position. But honestly at that point the road was out.

Now, the only exits I have will keep me on the same track in the same state. Sure, there is always the potential to attempt a new route to the same destination. And that’s frankly the only option I have to have nicer scenery.

The fact is, I know if I take another route I won’t be happier. I’ll still be on the same level of life that I am now. Aspects will improve but, as has been said, with great power comes great responsibility. The situation doesn’t change, it’s just a little shinier. There’s still rust underneath.