People like to say, "What a long day" or "Man, it's been a long week." I've had some long days. I've had some work days that started before 8AM and were still going after 10PM or midnight or later. My friends who work in dormitories know much longer days much more regularly. So, yes, there are days with long, long, long working hours.
But here is the new paradigm: a long day is the best day.
How can that be? None of us wants to work ourselves into the ground, least of all me. None of us wants to have that grueling day that will not end because of one obligation after another.
But imagine a different kind of long day. Imagine a day, maybe a Sunday like yesterday or last week, where you wake up a bit earlier than you need to in order to drive your wife to church, which gets you to meet your father earlier than you normally do, and which then leaves you with absolute freedom early in the morning.
Imagine a day where you have been to the grocery, returned home, eaten lunch, then driven downtown to pick up your wife to come back home, all by about a little after noon. This leaves an early afternoon to do a bunch of grading and to walk outside where the lawnmower waits and to "mulch" all of the fallen leaves in your yard and still by about 3 o'clock, to call upstairs to your napping wife and to say, "let's go out on the town."
Of course, that means little more than a bit of shopping out at the mall, but even when that is finished, and you are driving away from the mall, that leaves you time to say, "Hey, let's go to Bar Louie and get an app and a beer and watch a little football."
And even when that is over, you still get home early in the evening, early enough to have 5 or 6 hours left to do whatever you want to do. The last hour of NFL Red Zone. An hour of guitar practice. Some time in front of the stove preparing meals for the week ahead. A talk with a child about something that is going on. Maybe a chance to chip away at a book or a Netflix show or a blog post like this. A load of laundry and a favorite CD.
On an especially wonderful version of this kind of day, you get into bed by about 10 o'clock, your body tired out, but your mind still active, and you may lie side by side knowing that, maybe for two hours, anything could happen in no particular order, separately or together, all options on the table, all options pleasantly satisfactory. Because, for once, you don't feel time pushing you. Not for many minutes.
There are days out there, waiting for us. They are days wide open enough that they give us the time to do everything that we have to do and then time still to do everything that we want to. There is time if we look for it.
Maybe that day is not an amazing day, but it is the kind of long day that I am talking about.