“Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them.” ~John Shirley
Remember when you were in school and Friday would arrive?
There was that sense of glorious freedom and anticipation.
Something fun was waiting for you, and the 3:00 bell was the only thing standing in your way.
As you get older, weekends don’t hold the same liberating promise they once did. Life responsibilities have spilled over into those once sacred days. Now we race around shuffling kids to sporting events and lessons. We clean out the garage or do yard work. We shop for things we don’t really need.
The idea of a “free” day creates anxiety and restlessness. We’ve been trained to be eternally productive, constantly vigilant for the next task that we can cross off the list. If we have some down time between the tasks and running around, our mental and physical exhaustion lands us in front of the TV or computer for some mind-numbing “relaxation.”
I tried this little mind shift exercise for myself a minute ago. I calculated the number of weekends I have left if I live to age 90.
I have roughly 2000 weekends remaining in my life. How about you? Count them up for yourself (90 minus your age times 52). Well, that’s a finite number, isn’t it? It’s pretty real when you see it on paper.
Seeing these numbers made me reflect on all of the weekends I’ve slept too late, failed to plan ahead, busied myself with busy-ness, substituted my kids’ activities for my own fulfillment, or just accepted boredom and time-wasters. I have 2000 weekends or 4000 free days left. How do I want to spend them? In the car? Looking at useless crap at the mall? Cleaning out closets? Watching TV?
I love this beautiful world. I love that I am alive and able to experience all that life has to offer. There are so many things to see, to experience, to enjoy, to learn. I don’t have enough weekends, enough days to enjoy them all. I want to stop the Task Train from steaming down the track any further before I reach Destination Nowhere.
So let’s expand this mind shift a bit further. What if this weekend were your only free weekend of the year? How would you spend it?
Here’s what I would do:
- Plan and prepare a meal and invite friends over for dinner.
- Take a long bike ride by the river.
- Play a board game with my teenagers.
- Drive to the mountains or lake for the day.
- Go see Twyla Tharp’s “Come Fly Away” Broadway musical.
- Get up early and take a walk.
- Read a great novel.
- Visit the Botanical Gardens.
- Have a great conversation with a friend or family member.
I know reality requires us to spend at least some of our weekends doing things that must be done. But can you separate the things that must be done from those you do to fill time or simply to feel productive? Do you see the inherent value in having fun and enjoying all the world has to offer you?
If so, I invite you to take a moment to plan some fun into the upcoming weekend. Don’t let it creep up on you with nothing exciting or relaxing on your schedule. And whatever you do, don’t fill it up with tasks! Go enjoy life and the remainder of the few thousand free weekends you have left!
Please share your ideas for how you’ll be spending the weekend in the comments.
I’ll give away a copy of my Discover Your Passion course to the person who shares the most interesting weekend plans — and follows through!
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