“I can’t wait for the weekend”
Why we shouldn’t be wishing our time away
One Thursday afternoon, when I was in school, I was in a piano lesson and my teacher asked me how I was doing. I said something along the lines of “I’m doing ok. It’s nearly the weekend, so at least we’ve got that”. My piano teacher then responded with one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received when he replied “don’t wish your time away”. That sentence has stayed with me ever since.
Every week, I cannot tell you the number of times I hear people say “I can’t wait for the weekend” or “it’s only x number of days until Friday”. Last week, someone even said to me “we’re over the hump now” on Thursday morning. I think that one was my personal favourite. I understand it, I really do. Life can be absolutely exhausting and sometimes it can feel like the only break we truly get from the chaotic nature of the world around us, is that Friday evening and two full days of respite that follow. A pause in time, where we’re able to do whatever we choose to and that is both a powerful and liberating feeling. Having said that, whilst I understand this mentality, I try my best to avoid it because I feel that it is a way of thinking that exudes negativity and limitation. I truly believe that this mode of thinking creates so much pressure on having the ideal weekend, restricts one’s capacity to enjoy the working week and also traps you into viewing every other day as either repetitive or mundane.
“Did you have a good weekend?”
Inevitably, the first question one tends to receive on Monday morning, whether it be at work or with friends, is whether or not you had a good weekend. As I mentioned before, life can be difficult sometimes and naturally we all look forward to having a break and the weekend is the perfect opportunity to recharge. I would also add however, that this constant forward-looking perspective often puts an unrealistic pressure and an insurmountable weight of expectation of doing something productive or meaningful with your weekend, which more often than not, we will fall short of. How many times has an expectation of something not lived up to the reality? How many movies, books or TV shows have been recommended to you as being the ‘next best thing’, only to have fallen short of your premeditated expectations? Exactly the same principles apply to the enjoyment of a weekend. By incessantly looking forward to the weekend we subconsciously build unrealistic expectations of the future and also struggle to enjoy the present.
Make the most of the working week
For most adults, five out of seven days every week are spent in a working environment. We spend most of our time at work and if we don’t find a way to enjoy our time there, surely we will end up being miserable for a significant portion of our lives. People often say “work to live, don’t live to work” whereby the salient point is that we work so that we can enjoy our experiences outside of the workplace. I think you will be hard pressed to find someone who truly enjoys their job; I can’t say that I know many people who do. Work is not necessarily meant to be enjoyable, rather it is an environment where you are tried, tested, challenged and pushed in a plethora of different ways. Perhaps I am being naive in a sense. I am fairly new to the role I am currently in, so it is very possible that I possess a fresh enthusiasm for my job that may well wilt over time. Maybe the reason that people look forward to the weekend to the extent that they do is because they have become jaded and the repetitive nature of working life has worn down their passion and energy during the week. I will accept that it may well be easier for me to be more enthusiastic during the week because I haven’t been working for as long as my colleagues. Nevertheless, I will still endeavour for as long as possible, to try and find ways to enjoy the working week as much as I can.
Staying in the present
One of the main reasons as to why people look forward to the weekend and tend not to enjoy the working week as much, is simply because of the repetitive nature of working life. We all have set routines during the week and this constant cycle gives us the impression that we are living the same day over and over again which leads us to feeling that our lives are mundane or banal. The practice of meditation has taught me to try to live in the present moment. In doing so, I am starting to realise that no two days are in fact the same. In his widely celebrated text The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho writes “when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognise the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.” Over the course of my mindfulness journey, this text and this quote in particular truly resonated with me. With this notion in mind, the practice of meditation has taught me to try and focus more on my breathing which in turn enables me to be more aware of my surroundings. In doing so, I am able to find these little pockets of quiet enjoyment that are threaded throughout our days. The onus is on us to seek these moments out and by trying to stay focused on the present, I believe I am better placed to do so. The working week then takes on far more importance, as opposed to being time that is so readily wished away.
“When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognise the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.” — The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho