When I stop and think about how five out of the seven days of the week - 71% of our time on this planet! - is often spent waiting for the other two, it fills me with unfortunate emotions, like when you finish that last bite of the second donut you told yourself not to eat, or being stuck in a huge traffic jam you can do nothing about, or when your Ford needs a repair that's going to set you back a year in credit card payments again (Fix Or Repair Daily is not a joke, it's not funny, and if I do nothing else in this world, I can warn you would be better off getting into a dilapidated icecream truck that drives itself playing music that is out of tune than you would be getting in to test drive a Ford. You can't afford how cheap a Ford is. Just a little something I've been working on).
We often neglect to take the more scenic paths as we make our way through the woods, and, as the old adage goes, it becomes harder and harder to see the forest through the trees. Inevitably, we reach a point of frustrated focus on the day to day tasks that manage us, while we go on thinking we are the ones managing. It seems entirely possible that the childhood years never really happened, teenager-hood goes flying by, and our 20's just popped in to say hello, left a "sorry for your mortal conundrum" casserole, and split as fast as they could forever.
If I understand nothing about my life, I understand this showing up of each of my beloved eras on milk cartons will only continue to take me by surprise as I wonder, "Now where did that decade go?" By the time my coffee creamer expires, I will have been at my new job 6 months and to that I say, "Excuse me?" But what can I do? How can I take action? What are some ways to bring a little weekend in to my daily life? It just might be possible to wake up and say, "Tuesday! Wow! Excellent!" And so, as a matter of urgency and, yes, desperation, I have decided to do something about the quality of my death march.
I have tried to stop thinking of life in decade form, where each time frame was a phase I can never be a part of again, like Narnia - Uninvited! Too old! 30, 50, 70 should be nothing more than celebratory checkmarks of longevity and greater respect for the passage of time. We are just as prone to death at 25 as we are at 85. Well, sort of. Make use of every day. If you don't eat that cake, it's just going in the trash :[
On a desk quite close to my own, there be a candy pumpkin. Oh, shouldn't he be put away as Halloween has long passed? Is it not January?? Do be sure! This pumpkin has, indeed, gone rogue! His little pumpkin mouth smiles its smug smile, innards bursting with delicious candies, not peppermints or jolly ranchers, but mini Twix and Reese's, while I seek out documentaries that will irreversibly mutate my perception of that candy bar and how it will morph into liquid cancer in my gut, for that can be my only salvation. However, I feel great when I get through a work day having eaten as well as I do on the weekends. When I resist the siren call of the pumpkin, my energy levels last into the evening.
On the weekend, I go running around the lake. On week days, it's too dark when I get home. My proposition for myself in this field is to add in something that Weekend Me might actually envy of Week Day Me --- yoga. Going to one or two yoga classes a week, with that noodley savassana and overall sensation of meditative well-being, my weekend exercise is going to look more like a joyless workaholic who manages the stress with cocaine. I already look forward to those restorative days. The less antsy I feel, the better I'm able to use the rest of my time. So, move! Or don't! Turtles don't move much and I don't imagine 100 years pass all that swiftly for them.
How to counteract being in a building with a computer all day? Be outside without one! I go for longer walks with my dog. I take him to nicer parks when daylight starts lasting longer. It makes a big difference from coming home, eating, and lounging on the couch. Liberate yourself from the monotonous LED tractor beam of the screen. I saw a quote from Fran Lebowitz that said, "To me the outdoors is what you must pass through in order to get from your apartment into a taxicab." I cry. Better idea: there is a really good book on this called In Praise of Slowness.
I've always preferred to work through lunch and go home early if allowed. Since I can't now, I appreciate being there, feeding the squirrels under the disdainful gaze of university dwellers whose knowledge of rabies has skyrocketed their fears in the presence of these unusually friendly animals who gratefully accept peanuts. I take breaks with an audiobook or podcast. I refresh periodically by writing a little. You're there for 40 hours. Taking that time helps to not feel like you don't have control.
One of my favorite feelings is waking up on Saturday morning and knowing I have the full day ahead. Time is so sparse otherwise that I don't know how we're not all paralyzed by indecision for how to spend it at any given moment, but it SHALL BE DONE AND DONE WELL:
There was a kid in my school who always smelled of stale cigarette smoke because the mother smoked relentlessly indoors. Of all people, that mother also happened to run the neighborhood association that frequently sent mandates regarding the most subjective aspects of the appearance of my parents' house. No red door! ...The trade off for this grand and well-developed society. In exchange for existence in a world with uniformly clipped lawns, your life was sold at birth to the demands of time and taxes. Bosses will cross the line and sometimes petty details or every minute will be watched by robots with no flexibility off paper. It will happen. BUT - Your time is still YOUR time.
I am lucky enough to enjoy my work, so for me the issue lies in making my time last a little longer. I just need to wake up and play! Perhaps, though, that is not the case for you and, if so, a career change may be the best option. It is certainly how I got to where I am as I write this! To steal a quote from the article linked above: "It's never the environment; it's never the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to the events—how we interpret them—that shapes who we are today and who well become tomorrow. " ~Tony Robbins
If the first thought on Monday morning is something along the lines of, "Damn goddamnit ugh why?", then a little quality control is sorely needed. It can happen and it really must. This isn't a list of things that I think should maybe be tried sometimes. This is EXISTENCE. Nothing could matter more.