The Absent Commute Versus The Midlife Bucket List

Today you’re working from home, and if you have a passion or hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue, get on it—the clock is ticking.

Two years from now we will likely be in our cars, or traveling on trains, to get to this place called ‘work.’

It’s a job itself to get there.

Today, you wake up at 7:45, enjoy a decent breakfast, and likely share that meal with your family.

Tomorrow (in two-years’ time), management will expect you to be at your desk, at the proper time, five days a week. This whole, “my workers are so productive whilst working from home,” thing is not going to stick. Trust me.

Today, you can dial out of work for thirty minutes and romp around with your kid. You can take fifteen minutes and close your eyes after a mind-numbing and two-hour-long meeting.

Tomorrow, there will be a moment when you realize that your job (post-Covid) consumes five to twenty more hours of your life… due to commuting.

When that happens, you’ve lost the opportunity to start something new. Maybe you want to write the great American novel, learn to play the piano, pick up a new sport, or sharpen your cooking skills.

What can you do with ten extra hours a week? A ton!

Let’s average this block of time to ten ‘commuting’ hours per week. Assuming you need 1 hour in the morning, to shower, shave, drive/travel to work, and land at your desk… that equates to 160 hours over four months.

Back to that novel you want to write. A decent writer can draft 1,000 words in an hour. It may take a few weeks to ramp up to that speed, but it’s reasonable. Now let’s cut that in half for the purposes of… well, having a new purpose.

Here’s where you will be in four months word count wise: 56,000 words. I’ve written three works of fiction in the thriller genre. I learned that the average word count for first-time authors ranges between 70,000 to 80,000 total words. Anything more than that is shunned—too long for professional consideration.

It would take you four months to be 80% through your first draft (assuming the minimum 70,000 word count). At 1,000 words per day, you could write 112,000 or be FINISHED with your first draft after two and a half months.

Today is the day to set a plan for yourself, one that you stick to week-in and week-out. Sans a commute, this is your best chance to start something new… a hobby, a passion, it literally can be anything your heart desires.

Dads have not had this much free time with their families since the dawn of the industrial era. So, be a little selfish!

Two suggestions on how to start today:

  1. If you work in an environment where your calendar is packed from 9:00 to 5:00, with 30 minutes designated for lunch, it’s time to lie to everyone you work with. Carve out one-hour appointments, several times a week and ideally at 4:00 pm, to reserve time for your new passion (or from 9:00 to 10:00). Mark time as private/busy and if someone needs you bad enough, they’ll find another time.
  2. Want to flirt with an idea first? Unsure if writing a screenplay is more or less interesting than learning how to meditate? Sign up for MasterClass. This provides access to a hundred-plus experts on a slew of subjects. Yes, it’s $180 a year, but you can learn from the best and that $180 will save you time… the time to ramp up on something quicker than not.

Time is what you will not have in such abundance until you retire. And before that happens, you have to pay for junior’s college – which is ludicrously expensive, as you know. Besides, you’re still young enough to do anything.

If you’re wondering if I’m just talking the talk, ping me in six months. I’ve finished 90% of Aaron Sorkin’s MasterClass on screenplay writing. I’m aiming to have my first pilot drafted by September. And I’ve always… always wanted to learn how to play guitar proficiently. Right now, I’m one notch above the ‘you suck!’ stage. I plan to wedge an hour (2-3 times a week) in my work calendar and a couple more on the weekends so I can play for family and friends.

I’m going to outfit this room in our basement with soundproofing, and I’ll top it off with the small amplifier I bought two years ago. I will practice playing guitar and singing come hell or high water.

If time were a currency, you have it in abundance right now. Spend it.

If you enjoyed this article, check these out too on The Father Apprentice:

My Mother’s Kick-Ass Rock N’ Roll Collection, a Story About Family Legacies

Drumming with my Son for Pandemic-Related Charities: Great Beats and Life Lessons

The Weekend-Warrior Dad: The Ultimate Oxymoron

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