How to not live for the weekend.
Inertia — Nº152
The alarm screeches on a Monday morning, jolting you awake. You slap snooze and hide under the covers, dreading what’s next. Five more minutes, please.
By noon, the office window has captured your attention one too many times. A repeated affair. You’re staring out, demanding the hours to pass faster so better times can commence. The weeks and months pass in a blink, and you live for Friday alone. But let me ask you: when you look back, and it’s just you with all the years you have left, do you want to be full of regret from the years you let slip?
I sit here writing this, currently unwell. And whenever that happens, time slows down. January felt like the longest month in a long time, which is a first. But I think we’ve all noticed how quickly time passes with the seasons these days. Before we know it, it’s too late to restore the past. You’ll see many people trying to push their lives back to how they were before, but all we can do is bravely move forward and leave many things that shaped us behind.
As life grows, so do the repeatable motions. We go to work, return, fulfil obligations, heat up dinner, go to bed and restart. This is clearly antithetical to happiness. New weeks come out freshly baked and rich with new smells and tastes we may never have experienced. But lately, more people I speak to seem to taste nothing but dread or ennui. “All I want to know is, is the weekend here yet? … No, it’s Tuesday.”
Satisfaction comes not from ephemeral pleasures like partying or using Instagram but from developing our strengths and virtues that radiate onto others.
I’ve been thinking about these two things: where does meaning come from, and why do so many of us hurry through the years we never get back?
Four years have passed since the pandemic brought life to an eerie standstill. That period means a lot to me for various reasons. One in particular is because it was a time of striving: turning writing into art. Actioning visions that made me change careers entirely. Daily and weekly walks on the horizon that I once admired from a distance only. I think about this more now because, as Nix says, it’s inevitable to have a warped, unrequited love for the place or person that first revealed you to yourself.
The answer to living beyond the weekend is simple: find something worth wanting. Start with one thing. Something worth going through lots of exertion for. Something where it is not about getting what you want but feeling the joy of the effort, challenge, and concentration in the search to find it.
Start taking an inventory of your priorities. Does chugging margaritas or binge-watching Netflix all the time align with you? Probably not. So rather than reactively killing time, live intentionally and by design. Love putting in the effort. Reflect often. Then, thoughtfully craft each day to nurture those passions.
Schedule activities that spark joy and give you the rush but anchor you to the present. Rise early to watch the sunrise with a cup of tea. Volunteer to help others (within the limits of your time). Invest in your hobbies. Practice meditation, observing each breath with nonjudgmental awareness. Feel delighted when you wonder.
Instead of zoning out to a screen at day’s end, record or reflect on the day. Perhaps you were uplifted by your local barista’s smile, the psychedelic sunset (as we had yesterday in London), or a thoughtful exchange with your partner. Reflection builds appreciation for the good already in the present rather than leaving you perpetually wanting as today’s billion-dollar distractions do.
Most importantly, align work to purpose rather than paychecks. You'll find consistent happiness if you can orient happiness more towards contribution. Identify how your unique talents can help serve society and preserve the environment, then pursue that passion.
We don’t find happiness only on weekends but in the magic woven through mundane Mondays and routine Tuesdays. The weeks are not about picking pleasures; they’re about cultivating ideas and meaning, selflessly serving the world, staying faithful to your small efforts that add up and pay off, and finding joy in it all. Do that, and you’ll love each day much more.