Sometimes people ask me why I work four days a week. When I say no, I don’t have kids, I wonder if the person in front of me thinks I’m just lazy. Perhaps I am, especially when I think about all the precious Friday mornings I spent sleeping in to recover from sleep debt.
My Free Fridays have differed from each other (when I’ve been fortunate enough to have employers be okay with granting me Fridays off), but one theme remains the same. I feel like I’m robbing myself of something integral I could gain from these precious hours off work.
By this I don’t mean my Fridays are all spent sleeping in and lounging around. I spend many of them hustling on with ‘life admin’, rushing to appointments, catching up on reading and emails … which I love, because I love the feeling of walking around in a clean house and seeing a clean inbox and clear diary. I also love the luxury of being able to cook at a leisurely pace in the evening for my husband and I. But recently as I sat staring into space on my morning commute to work, taking in the sea of listless expressions / eyes glued obediently to screens, I wondered when I was going to stop ‘wasting’ my days off.
In saying that, I don’t mean that I consider it all a waste. And there are times to just hustle on and Get Stuff Done. Like the wonderful, crazy, stressful few weeks between 7 April – 7 May 2016, when Jarred and I got both engaged and married, celebrating with almost 100 people at my parents’ place.
That was a mad time. We couldn’t stop. We laughed, I cried, we had a tiff or two. I was glued to my spreadsheet of timelines, costs and tasks. Jarred bustled around making room for me in his room, searching for suits, ordering / hiring marquees, practising the wedding song. I got my flu jab and my wedding dress on the same day. Our friends, family, caterer, minister, suppliers and guests bustled around doing their bit to make our day happen. I kept working four days a week right up to the wedding, and after the wedding we packed down most of it ourselves and went back to work on Monday.
I learned for myself that indeed, anything is possible when you decide to do something and go all in, with the love and help of people around you and some serious divine intervention (I believe we had a lot of this in this season!)
I learned that you can get A LOT done in one hour.
I learned that there will always be more to do … but at some point you can either look up and enjoy the day complete with rewards and imperfections, or keep fretting about the loud guest and the champagne getting warm and just miss the whole point.
I learned that you can’t plan for everything, but having a plan helps.
We only get one shot at so many things in life, as each day comes only once. Some things like weddings just make this fact more apparent.
I don’t want to spend each Friday just fretting about time passing so quickly, or getting ‘urgent’ (but not important) stuff done especially when busy-ness becomes such a good mask and excuse for worry and insecurity.
Just writing this now I feel like I don’t know where to start or what to do first or whether it will all be worthwhile in the end (! overthinking!) but I see now that I in fact have quite an untapped bank of time in which to START tending to a few creative dreams and important (but usually not seen as urgent) things. For now I shall try to post something each Friday, however short, for as Lao Tzu said, 千里之行，始於足下 (the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step).