Friday, February 5, 2010

Structure in My Life

I have worked the overnight shift (or Dog Watch as we call it) for eleven years now. I worked the PM shift for six months before that. My job before that was at a police department where I worked all types of shifts and days off. Now that I think about it. I have never had a Monday-Friday, 9-5 job. The only time I have ever had anything that resembled that was when I was in school of some sort. The police academy was six months. I had done another police academy before that. I was also M-F days while doing training in the Marine Corps. I've had twenty years of instability as far as work shifts, times and days off. Let's just say, I would like to have some structure!.

I believe I am going to get something like that for the next ten weeks. I am in the police department's "Spanish Immersion" program. There are twenty of us sitting in an elementary school learning Spanish. It is basically four semesters of college Spanish in ten short weeks. Five of us will have the opportunity to go to Mexico for an additional five weeks. It is a great opportunity for me and I'm looking forward to the next nine weeks.

The one thing that I have loved this week is the structure I've had. I've woken up at 5 am, gone to my CrossFit work out program, class at 8, a lunch hour, off at 5, home to study and get ready for the next day and off to bed at nine. I've had structure in my work-out life (CrossFit at 6 a.m.) I've had structure in my sleep (9pm to 5am) I've had structure in my nutrition (meals are planned out and eating at the right times) Most importantly, I've gotten some structure in my spiritual life (morning prayer, evening prayer and even daily mass a couple times a week.

I can't tell you how great it is to have this structure. Maybe it's difficult to understand if you have not ever worked this shift but it really stinks working over night this night, and the next night trying to sleep at home and the next night working over night again. It's difficult to find time to work out because you don't know when you'll be sleeping. You don't know when to eat because you will up for 24 hours in a row some time, And prayer time is crazy. Do I do morning prayer even though I'm about to go to bed? What about evening prayer? I just woke up.

So my goal is for the next ten weeks to make as many grounds in those categories as I can. I think it's important to have this structure and I need to do something to continue to have structure when, in April, I go back to dog watch.

What do you do for structure? Do you have problems keeping order in your life?


  1. Nurses work whacky shifts, too, Jamie, so I can relate to what you're saying. These days I don't work odd shifts, but I still have trouble sometimes staying on track. But I've found it helpful to set aside the first moments of my day for a cupp of coffee and some "God time".

  2. Yeah---that's what I hope to continue when I go back to Dog Watch. Pray whenever I wake up--whether it be 8 am or 4 pm.