Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Art of Weekends and Being Full

Dear Weekend Warriors,

This, is the Weekend of all Weekends.

That's right, we are allotted three days to stuff our families into mini vans and haul ourselves to various tourist attractions, to see distant-cheek-pinching-relatives or to improve our character by taking on some sort of outdoor adventure (RVing comes to mind). We may find ourselves taking in the last rays of sun before work or school begins, relaxing on a beach (if we're lucky) and returning to the grind on Tuesday with a proud sunburn. Why proud? Because we savoured that last bit of lingering summer even if it made us a humiliating shade of Lobster Red! For those who can't get away from the house, maybe we've decided to finally fix that squeaky door, or start on a new home improvement project. After all, nothing screams accomplishment more than a mahogany candle holder! For the less ambitious however, a three day weekend means twelve hours of well deserved sleep every night. If you happen to fall into this category and are a teenager, this number may become fourteen hours of sleep, four hours of eating, and six hours of online entertainment.


Yes, jam packing your weekend with family obligations may be necessary, you really might need to fix the door, and escaping into the wild may be a well needed break. However, a long weekend is also an opportunity to be creative and break the cycle of most weekend warriors. Just because we have an extra day, does not mean that it needs to be booked up with engagements. Too often we see an empty space, be it physical or abstract, and feel an uncontrollable urge to fill it. There's a plain wall in the living room? We buy a painting to make it look less plain. We find out our work meeting is cancelled? Time to get home and start cleaning! At dinner there's extra garlic bread? Fill 'er up, Mom!
We are always wanting fullness, because in modern day language we associate it with "happiness". Especially on long weekends or festive occasions, it seems as though we should be incredibly happy the entire time, as well as feel accomplished by the end of the whole affair. This is not necessarily wrong, but with almost irresponsibly high expectations, we are setting ourselves up to be disappointed. Not only are we preparing ourselves to feel "less than up to par" with the rest of society, we are also setting the stage for stressful encounters and unattainable deadlines. There are only twenty four hours in a day, and those extra hours are not going to allow us to accomplish inhuman amounts of housework or homework. We are in fact living beings who get tired and irritable, and sometimes just really need to take a step back.
In the end, how much extra stress is finishing the deck in three days worth? In a month, will it matter that we were able to get sixteen loads of laundry (including all the bedding and couch covers) done on that one extra day?
Depending on your personality, the answer is usually no. Long weekends are not slots of time for absolutely anything (and everything) that needs to get done from now until Christmas. There are certain chores or errands that do require some extra time, and perhaps Friday night untill Monday is really quite practical to accomplish those types of things. Once again though, we are human, we need sleep, and a lot of the time we tend to overbook ourselves by filling our lives up with unnecessary "Stuff".

Hence, the value of simply being content with life becomes all the more important.

Yesterday the only productive thing I did was make cookies and soup with my best friend. But you know what? We had awesome conversations, laughed a lot, and went about the day feeling quite "alright". That's when you find the most about yourself, and the people you love : when you're taking time to sit and see them for who they are, to reflect upon who you are as a person. Maybe that's true human accomplishment, knowing the limits and boundaries of who we are as creatures, rather than pumping our lives full of fancy pieces of paper and nice looking houses.

Whatever you do this weekend, I wish you time with your family and friends, especially with yourself.

Happy Labour Day Weekend,

Arctic Hipster