My first job out of grad school was at The Dungeon. The Dungeon was actually an Emergency Room, but it certainly would fool most innocent visitors. Once you passed through the pneumatic sliding glass doors, that hissed as you walked through, you entered a completely different world. A world where time stood still. Walking through The Dungeon, you were suddenly aware of a strange glow. Don’t worry, those were just the overhead flourescent lights that gave us all a yellow hue. Patients were kept behind closed, sliding glass doors, kind of like caged animals. The clock on the wall could read 9:00am, but you would never know exactly what time it was or the weather conditions outside based on your surroundings. There were absolutely no windows in The Dungeon. It was as if the construction engineers deemed the people who worked and visited The Dungeon too sick or too busy to deserve the privilege of viewing the outdoors. I always felt it was nighttime there, because I walked around in scrubs (or my pajamas as I fondly called them) all day in this darkened unit. Without the windows, and the visual of the changes in the day, my 12 hour shifts often seemed to stretch on for hours longer. I longed to escape into the “real world” by the end of my day; the real world that I was restricted from seeing.

Fast forward 3 years later. I sit at a desktop computer against a sprawling wall of windows. Yes; glorious, beautiful windows. I can see every subtle change in the weather conditions from my chair. The view is so good that during one stormy day, I nearly called the local weather channel as I could swear I saw the formation of an early tornado in the spinning clouds above us. There is a grassy hillside and trees outside my windows. I often see cute bunny rabbits, fat squirrels, and even some unknown breeds of rodents running and chasing each other around. I’ve had a squirrel jump onto the outdoor window ledge and stand there peering in directly into my eyes. I think he was hoping I’d share some of my peanut butter sandwich with him. Other times, I’ve seen a few random people with their pets enjoying a walk outside my windows.

It depends on the day; the view often changes. I love having my windows though. They make me feel like I have a flow to my day. No longer am I trapped where the only light I see is the flourescent ones above me. I see the full spectrum of daylight hours from where I sit. Looking out those windows during my work day gives me a sense of peace and hope. Hope that in a mere 9 hours, I too will be rejoining that world where people aren’t sick and the weather changes in a blink of the eye.

Today’s simplest pleasures:

1.) Windows make the workday so much nicer.

2.) When at work, stop and enjoy your visual surroundings whenever you can. Remember that there is an end to the work day, and soon, you too will be enjoying part of what is outside that window.