Remember how great weekends used to be? We cycled the whole week around, anticipating them. From the Monday blues, through Humpday, and finally, it was TGIF.
But lately, you’re stuck at home, your partner is stuck at home, and your kids are stuck at home. Every day is the same. The monotony drags on, week after week. For a while, you try to remember what day it is, but finally, you give up. What difference does it make?
Well, it makes a big difference. At least it should. The weekends are still there; you just have to find ways to make them unique again. And doing so, will not only make those two days better but will improve your entire week. It gives you something to anticipate. Having a weekend to look forward to will, once again, give each day of the week new meaning.
A few years ago, my wife and I retired. I had been working in an office for years while she worked from home. Retiring was something we had envisioned and worked toward for many years, and finally, the day was here. We had a great plan financially and knew that we could handle retirement and coast into our golden years secure and able to continue our lifestyle.
But we didn’t really have a plan for the retired part of retirement. We had things we enjoyed doing, both separately and together, but didn’t think through how those things would fit into our new lives.
Before, we had structure. During the week, we worked all day and spent the evenings together. On weekends, we did, well, weekend stuff. Because that was the only time we could do them. After work, we didn’t have enough energy to do much besides eat dinner and watch TV. On the weekends, we did everything else.
Which meant the weekends were usually pretty busy. Sometimes, too busy.
So, retirement seemed like a solution to that. We didn’t have to cram everything into the weekend. We could spread everything out over seven days.
And so, we did. But that just meant that all seven days were the same. We realized quickly that just because we had the freedom to hang around the house all day, didn’t make that a good idea. So every day, we went out to lunch. And after lunch, we wanted to walk around for a bit, so we would stop by a grocer or big box store to wander. Maybe we bought something; maybe we didn’t.
It didn’t take very long for the monotony to get to us. So, we began to change our schedules. We put some week back into the week, and some weekend back into the weekend.
The first thing we realized was that the weekends were now the days when all the working folk were out doing their weekend thing. So, we shifted our attention. On the weekends, we avoided the places, like grocery stores, where everyone else went. We also chose our weekend lunch locations based on places that never got crowded.
And this helped, but it didn’t really put us in that weekend mindset. So, we began shifting other things around. Household chores, cleaning, and maintenance tasks all got moved to weekdays. If it looked or felt like ‘work’, it didn’t happen on the weekends. We also expanded our leisure-type activities on the weekends. Our walk in the park got longer, and we visited places further away, preferably places less crowded.
So, over time, we established a nice weekly schedule. We could tell what weekday it was by where we ate lunch, and the weekends were special again.
But then, just like everyone else, we found ourselves stuck at home every day. Nothing special happened on any particular day, and the monotony set back in.
But, hey, we just went through this. We’ve been in this hole before, and we know how to climb out of it.
The first thing we fixed was lunch. After a couple of weeks of heating canned soup or making ham sandwiches, we’d had enough. Inside dining may be closed, but almost everywhere was doing takeout. So we took out. We had to adust our previous weekly schedule, but we adapted.
Some places weren’t as well suited to takeout. Even if we ate most of them on the way home, French fries just didn’t travel well. And one time trying to eat a double bacon cheeseburger in the car, let us know we had graduated that particular school many decades ago.
So, we adjusted our locations and our orders until we had a daily lunch schedule going again. And we reserved weekends for the best of the bunch. We chose a couple of places where the takeout food was still exceptional, and they became our go-to lunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
Yay. Weekends were coming back.
Going to the store every day became tedious and not very much fun anymore. You couldn’t just wander aimlessly and enjoy the walk. Masks, hand-sanitizers, cart wipes, directional aisles, and social distancing, made the whole thing more trouble than worth. So, we picked a couple of weekdays to do the shopping and relegate that to the work category.
On weekends, we reverted to our search for parks and destinations that weren’t crowded. In some ways, this was easier because fewer people were getting out. In others, it was trickier because avoiding people was no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
But with a little research and experimentation, we found our spots.
And we still didn’t do household chores on the weekend.
So, for now, weekends aren’t what they used to be. But they can still be unique. They can still be different. It may take a bit more planning, but it’s better than letting all the days run together.
And once a week, we can still shout, TGIF!