The weekend is a relatively new concept in the modern world. What we now define as the weekend was first successfully negotiated by a union in 1929 (Amalgamated Clothing Workers) and we now just kinda naturally fall into it.
A new approach that takes this further could save our lives. The New Economics Foundation has recommended moving to a 21-hour standard workweek to address problems with unemployment, high carbon emissions, low well-being, entrenched inequalities, overworking, family care, and the general lack of free time. The Center for Economic and Policy Research states that reducing the length of the work week would slow climate change and have other environmental benefits.
Let the fall be natural but intentional this time. Pay attention to the arrival of it with open eyes. Recognize its presence and let your breathing match what it asks you for. Allow your body to fall out of the work rhythm and walk into one that isn’t defined by your profession if you can. Concentrate on remembering that some time, however small you define it, is meant for you to determine the purpose of and that time is important.
Breathe. In and out.
Have a meal on your own terms.
Check in with yourself.
What revolutions occur when we we allow for leisure? What new ideas are waiting? What new relationships seek us out?
I had it all figured out Wednesday.
I was gonna put this whole thing down in one furious shot, walking my fingers over the keys like I was Monk or Mahones (shout out, Peace, and Black Love to Danielle.)
I had lots of ideas about what to say and how to say it.
At around 1 pm, I started getting congested only to realize by 3 that it was either reaaallllyyy bad allergies or I was getting sick. I was furious. Couldn’t this wait until after vacation? Couldn’t I JUST ENJOY ONE FUCKING THING!!!!????!!!! ARGGGHHH!!!!
Then I remembered my last brain doc appointment.
There was a lot to that last one because South Korea but he pointed out that no matter the obstacle of that trip, I didn’t lose my mind. He informed me that all the triggers for a bipolar person were present and I came back whole – though understandably crispy – and that’s something to remember. We closed agreeing on the idea that I should be proud of myself and he asked me if I was going to take a vacation. I told him we had plans at that time for Hawaii but volcanoes etc so we might need a new plan. He put down his clipboard and basically said:
You can either plan a landing or experience a crash, but remember that either way being on Earth is in your future. Give your body and brain space to relax and refocus. Reconnect with your family. Remember your need for play. All of that grounds you.
I held it and didn’t let my brain punish me for respecting myself. I fought on my way out of the office and into the car on the way home. I’m not very good at pushing back on this voice, so it is real work that I have to do every time I have an appointment so I don’t lose what I have built.
This rest isn’t something we earn. Our bodies need it to survive. Work is important, but not more important than sleep and personal time. Space to heal is important on the deepest biological levels and there are lots of things we can do to encourage that healing. One of those things is to recognize that need and respect it.
So, I’m working on just making space for the congestion and wheeze. My body needs me to listen. I’m seeing this moment as encouragement to relax and expel some things (emotional mucus!) that I’ve let remain too long.
Besides, there are worse places to recover than Belize.