Lost Weekends

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"Have a nice weekend," the checkout clerk said on a Friday afternoon.

Her casual comment got me thinking about my weekend plans: laundry, clean the garage, deal with the piled-up mail, car oil change. Return library books, wash windows, put out the recycling, get a ladder and change that burned out light bulb. Gym, fix the leaky faucet, bank, haircut. Not to mention answering the 200 emails in my inbox, picking up the dry cleaning.

So, much as I'd like to follow her advice, I'm just too busy to have a nice weekend.

And I'm not the only one. Everyone I know crams too much into their weekends. Between a full-time job and a part-time life, weekends end up filled with errands there's no other time for. But even so-called recreational activities are high-pressure. Binge watch all those TV shows I need to catch up on, work up a sweat at the gym, plow through the ginormous Sunday New York Times, make a dent in my Netflix queue. Honestly, it's a statement about our culture that running in a marathon can be considered a leisure-time activity. Weekends are so tiring, I'm beginning to feel relieved when Monday rolls around. When did weekends become the new weekdays?

That clerk's comment has me realizing what I'm forgetting to add to my ever-expanding, never-checked-off, must-get-done-this-weekend list: relax.


So, this weekend, for once, I might just blow off both the laundry and the laundry list of errands. And I've decided it's OK to let that bulb stay burned out a little longer, if it prevents me from burning out. I am letting go of my need to schedule every last scrap of time, that nagging feeling if I'm not squeezing something out of every single second, I'm wasting my precious weekend.

I picked up an item at the store that Friday that wasn't on my shopping list -- but it was something I needed. The realization I'm allowed to rest.

A little down time isn't a waste of a weekend -- it's what weekends are for. After all, even God rested on the seventh day.
So, this weekend, I'm following the advice of the check-out clerk. I'm going to have a nice weekend. I feel more relaxed already.
Have a nice weekend.
With a Perspective, I'm Richard Swerdlow.

Richard Swerdlow works for the San Francisco Unified School District.