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On the existential crisis of the weekend


 

Weekends used to be what life was for. Two days of freedom and relief from the weekday routine, from the grind of office life, from waking up with an alarm. The sweet, giddy euphoria of a Friday night was made all the more intoxicating if you had plans to socialise, go to a gig, watch a film, eat at your local Italian. Not only did you get your socialising/culture/food fix in, but you then had two more days of doing the very same thing. The weekend also offered endless pottering-around-the-house hours since usually it was a space you saw scarcely during the week. A Saturday started with a little light cleaning was one sure way to make you feel as if you were ahead in the productivity stakes, and made the Netflix binge that followed feel earned.

 

Friday night was balanced out by the cold sweats of Sunday evening but still, the weekend was always worth it, regardless of whether you didn’t move from the couch after Friday night work drinks, or because you packed so much into those two precious days you were looking forward to heading back to work just for a break.

 

The weekend was a signifier that one portion of time was over, and other about to begin.

 

I can’t, however, remember what any of that feels like. For probably an average number of years, I had a probably average weekday/weekend lifestyle. It was frustrating and comforting and expected and uninspired and just how life rolled. Weekdays were for getting through, the weekend was waited for.

 

Even when I worked freelance, I kept my weekday/weekend structure out of habit and to be able to fit into the norms of society. Sure, I’d take advantage of seeing an exhibition (remember those!) during the week. And there was nothing better than shopping first thing on a Tuesday morning, reveling in the weird awkwardness of an empty clothes store that would be a chaotic hellscape on the weekend.

 

But now.

 

Weekends can f*ck.right.off.

 

Let me tell you why.

 

Waiting.

 

Dear god the waiting.

 

When the world came to a screeching halt a few months ago (has it only been a few months?!?), the existential crisis of the weekend began. Waiting for news on jobs, on government support, on the tenants moving from my house so we could move in, on applying for a visa for my husband, all required a day that didn’t begin with an ‘S’. I needed information. I needed forms finalised. I needed replies to my emails! I worked hard during the week to get as much done as I could, breaking out in anxiety sweat by Friday afternoon knowing that if I hadn’t received any new information by then, I’d somehow have to distract myself for two whole until the whole cycle could begin again. And distracting myself used to be easy when you were allowed to leave your house/state/country/hemisphere.

 

But what is a weekend when you can’t go out and socialise/visit the local Italian/go to a gig/watch a film/be out of the house? All it is, is another two days of pretending to enjoy yet another walk around the block when all you want to do is eat ice cream and binge tv, preferably in the pjs you had on when you woke up. (This SHOULD be something a lockdown was made for, but not when you live with three other people who don’t need to see that.)

 

There was a time when we were all over-worked bundles of burn-out stress, dragging ourselves through the week in the hopes the weekend would offer a mindful break to give us the strength to go on. But now, apart from those descending into madness with working from home and home-schooling craziness, the rest of us are surely longing for those days of being busy and distracted and looking forward to the fun the weekend had to offer and not…

 

Waiting.

 

Waiting for this virus to be done. Waiting for lives to get back to normal. Waiting to be able to see friends and family and visit a shopping centre without the stress of police or a breakdown of your health nipping at your heals.

 

Sometimes, just sometimes, though, I guess waiting can pay off.

 

In 1991, wrote to my favourite author ever. Ann M. Martin was the author of The Baby-sitters Club and I wanted to be her/meet her/have her as my best friend. After an excruciatingly long time (read: I gave up all hope of a reply), into our family mailbox tumbled a DL envelope with my name and a postmark from Providence, Rhode Island. The happiness I experienced when opening said envelope and reading the letter inside hasn’t been replicated in my life too many times, and the sadness I felt when I thought I had lost that letter for good, our family moves proving just too much of a strain on our earthly possessions that tended to go walk about and never make it to the new address, was a sadness I tried to shield from my younger self. But the letter recently resurfaced (as with many other childhood gems as you’d know from my recent posts) and I got to experience anew that sense of joy, wonder, excitement that I had felt all those years ago. That sense of time that had felt impossible to get through, eventually ended and in the best way possible.

 

Those with an eagle eye will notice I paid homage to my favourite books by borrowing the names of two characters for my epic masterpiece as revealed in last week's post.

Let’s hope our weekends will re-establish themselves as something worth waiting for once more, instead of being these existential periods of crisis that just heighten what surreal times we live in.


Some dreams DO come true. (If any blog readers would like a personal letter, do get in touch.

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