Leaving the indignities of the day behind

We all endure small indignities on a daily basis. Some of these minor injustices we bury down until we can barely see or feel them. Others, like that floater in the eye you can’t ignore, are ever-present. It might be your boss calling you “the girl” on a phone call instead of by your name or professional title. Maybe it’s the administration that wants you to pretend that failing students are passing ones. It could even be the fact that you’re working a minimum wage shift job, all the while composing music in your head over the sound of conveyor belts. From person to person, the sense of being let down by life in little ways adds up to greater grievances; but where is the release?

In our modern work-centered times, we often find that release in the shroud of night. Bars built on faithful happy hour patrons will be the first to tell you that. “Leave the indignities of the day behind!” a happy bartender declares with each pint poured for those milling around the drafts (at least in my mind).

For those of us “lucky” enough to be night owls, letting go of the day can be a blessing and a curse. Writing, music, and other creative outlets typically need to be compartmentalized to the hours off work, but those are also the hours you are physically and mentally exhausted. But we endure, until the second wind comes and lifts our sails to an ungodly hour, perhaps even close enough to what can be called a waking hour.

For those who never catch that proverbial wind, this is where passive moments are enjoyed, sweet indulgences left perhaps until after the roommates, kids or significant other are asleep. Binge watching an old television show, reading a trashy book on an e-reader, or putting time into a new single player video game; how else can you forget about the noise of the city, or the dull ache in your heart from whatever burdens remain?

Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like in a different world, where the industrial era didn’t usher in the structure we inherit today. Would we be plowing the earth and seeding the soil with our troubles barely in view? Waging wars to avenge, instead of sinking into passive aggressiveness?

Of course this romantic view does nothing but obscure reality. However it can make you wonder if our ancestors would see our modern mishaps as anything more than “first world problems.” And the night, to them, must have looked much different than our own. A time to lay down the axe for revelry by campfire, or the body to rest after the dusk turned out the only reliable light available; no time to let minor slights weigh the mind.

In the end, the fact remains that we are today built with electricity in our veins and a new view of what stresses charge us. Finding a way to ground our energy after hours in whatever form we choose deserves its own sense of romanticism and appreciation. Let no indignity make you indignant enough to forget yourself.

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