The threat of a heart attack did it for me. What will it take for you to back off and slow down?
I'm scheduling more Saturdays.
You like Saturdays? Love the sweet, syrupy, slip of seconds as they slow down for a late morning?
Love the way you can turn off the alarm entirely? Choose, if you're smart, not to even look at your work emails for two days? Turn the phone off?
If you can't do either of those, perhaps this article is for you.
My favorite day of the week, bar none. Everything about Saturday is magic to me. When I was growing up as a farm girl, Saturdays were chores in the morning, after which I could ride my horse for hours on end or watch a scary movie. Or both, if I planned carefully.
Saturday mornings felt endless in a way that no other day did. It was all completely imaginary, of course. Weeks are a construct; time is just time, but humans just had to put scaffolding around it.
How on earth did we end up with seven days of the week? Research indicates that we can thank the Sumerians, tracing it all the way back to 21st Century B.C., largely to mark the phases of the moon.
Here's the history:
We love to measure time, as though we could control it, right?
In the beginning, it was about the moon. Then we went over the moon about productivity, that Calvinist-fired sickness that says that we as humans are only valued by what we produce, not for our own intrinsic value as a human being.
Human DO-ing, not human BE-ing.
Some industrialist named Henry Ford, whose assembly line fundamentally skewered American creativity and ingenuity, instituted the five-day work week, securing the system for all of us, at least until recently. A detailed explanation is here:
While we're moving steadily but surely to a four-day week for some, and plenty of others are finding new blends with work from home, plenty of others work so many gigs and side hustles that there's no air. No Saturdays, no Sundays at all. Shift workers hardly have days, and if there is a Saturday it's likely spent in recovery.
In fact, Saturday in so many ways IS a recovery day from the cruel imposition of Calvinist values of work til you die.
I struggle to understand how that's different from the Kenyan cult which convinced its parishioners to starve for Jesus, but here we are. Suffer suffer suffer, and you shall go to heaven. Really? Yep:
I worked like that too before the words gig or hustle had entered our vernacular the way we mean them now. In my twenties the word "hustle" referred to an extremely popular dance form.
Proud of it too. Ninety-hour work weeks were my thing, and I wore that like a badge of honor. Like those ridiculous Silicon Valley stars who bragged about how little they slept, and expected others to do the same, like Elon Musk.
Stupid people are still doing it:
Think the money is worth it?
When the stress comes calling, and you land in the ER, and maybe, just maybe a whole lot worse, is the money worth it? All those bragging rights badges for killing yourself?
Here's a great story which underscores what I mentioned above how we align with the Protestant work ethic that threatens to wipe us out:
I dumped that around 2012 or thereabouts, right about the time I started doing adventure travel for fun. Natch, I morphed that into a job, and threw myself into that with the same intensity that I do everything else.
I have a knack for turning joy into work, having a hell of a hard time enjoying the joy I was surrounded by and looking for ways to turn it into a business.
The problem is that when you do the kinds of sports I love to do, you will injure. I have, spectacularly. Eventually, that catches up with you. Beginning in 2018, repairs became imperative. Shoulders, hands, feet, all kinds of busted body parts and bits. It all added up. Those required big repairs.
Add to that an equally-spectacular car crash in 2020, just to make things interesting. Lots of small but very painful injuries like mashing my middle finger with a hammer, the kinds of things you do when you are stressed out and deny it.
In other words, the stress was building. So eventually it landed me in the ER. Not a heart attack, thank god. Just way too much stress from unending pain from all those surgeries, and a slew of B. Life Events which, individually, can each put a human a padded room
But here's the point: no matter how old you are, no matter how fit you are, no matter how much you think you can juggle, at some point the body just slams you to the mat and you will go DOWN. At some point you may stay down.
You may recall this nursery rhyme:
Monday's Child is Fair of Face
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go.
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath Day,
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.
I am a Saturday's child, the very day I love with all my heart, full of delectable easy time and blooms and promise and the rise of steam from a fine cup of coffee.
I have spent my adult life working on too many Saturdays, working towards a vacay I have never been able to truly take.
When you get to this age, you begin to count how many Saturdays you may have left. None are promised, a realization that I've written about. This past weeks' ER visit was as hard a whack up 'side of the haid as I have ever had. I take it seriously.
One of my first actions after coming home from the ER was to head to the couch where I slept like the dead for two hours. Then I cancelled any appointment I couldn't justify. All of a sudden the middle days of my week felt like Saturdays.
I had already set aside Wednesdays as Hump Days, which is much the same. But with a right foot down and no ability to drive, they beckoned me to work.
NO mission creep.
I am going in the other direction.
Done with that Calvinist cancer.
So given that we worship at the altar of workdays, and those are driven by weekdays imposed upon us by some nitwit from the early 20th Century, and given that given this artifice and its idiocy don't work for me any more, I'm grabbing more Saturdays.
Can't speak for you, but hustle culture, which I was living long before it had that name, is buzz kill.
I want more of this:
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