I have never, in my entire career, had the hours of 9 to 5. As a PA, I worked 7am to wrap, as an AD, assorted hours long and short, but never 9 to 5. Even working 8-hour editing shifts in news, my 9 to 5 has mostly been 11 to 7. I have learned over the years never to count on hours. A scheduled 7pm finish might extend until 8 or 9 or midnight. And so it is that I have led a life with only limited commitments on work days, knowing that what I think is the schedule might just blow up in my face.
These days, I have begun to take back a little control over my hours.
Perhaps it's the transition out of extensive child care. Perhaps it's
the realization that things missed don't come back. Or maybe it's the
knowledge that as a freelancer, you could easily let the work, when it's
there, take over your life--and then find things in your life are over when the
work's not there.
Today, I was struck by the iffyness of it all--the realization that you
can start a work day--at 7 or 9 or 11--thinking it will be one way, and
finish--at 7 or 9 or 5--discovering that it has turned out completely
differently. It was a reminder that, no matter what the hours, the hours
need to be something you can live with. Because while they are ticking
by, to a later end, or sometimes even an earlier one, the rest of life
will be ticking by too. And you wouldn't want to be so caught up in 9ish
to 5ish that you miss it all.