Every Monday morning, I find myself in a countdown to the weekend- the Monday through Friday rat race that we find ourselves locked into. No matter how many obstacles the week may hold, we tell ourselves to “Push through” to the end.
We create a plan for success. We set our alarms the night before, so that we wake up in plenty of time to get out of the door. We might have already laid our clothes out, meal-prepped for the week ahead, or rehearsed that presentation for the 4th time. We prep ourselves in any conceivable way, to ensure our success.
Then, the unexpected happens- and you know what it is. Like a big hairy green monster, something unexpected uproots our carefully laid plans, tears it into a thousand pieces, and blows them away like dandelion fluff. Some days, this unexpected thing almost seems like it was purposefully planted there, just to make our day more difficult. Sometimes, it’s a string of unexpected things; other times, it’s just one very big unexpected thing.
Does anyone else feel it? Something big and unexpected is coming. The air feels different, like when you can smell the rain before a spring storm, taste the dust before a dust storm, or see the sky turn that sickly shade of bluish-green before a hail storm.
Our next move is the most important. Do we:
a) Batten down the hatches- hide in a protected spot out of the storm’s path?
b) Run- try to outrun or avoid the storm altogether?
c) Stand still- observe the storm: feel the raw energy of the rain drops as they pelt your skin and soak your clothes, allow your coiffed hair to become unpinned, and watch the powerful beauty of the storm? Do you simply observe or do you become the storm?
d) Get so caught up in the rat race that you have unknowingly ignored all the signs of the storm, and now are caught off guard, unprepared, in the middle of a flooding highway?
At different points in our lives, we have been in every single circumstance. In fact, we are sometimes in every circumstance within the same week. There are many times in our lives when the storm can be completely overwhelming, times when we unknowingly outrun or avoid a storm, and times when the “storm” turned out to be just a sprinkle or two.
If every week feels like a new storm, you’re burning out- if you’re not already burned out. We weren’t meant to live in a constant state of panic, to constantly feel as though we need to run/prepare/hide/avoid. It may be time to re-evaluate your week. If every week is a push to the weekend, with very little sparkle during the week, it’s time to re-evaluate.
What is “the end” we are trying to reach? In this case, “the end” is the weekend- a time to relax, let our hair down, be ourselves without rushing here and there and everywhere. Anyone ever notice that when a storm comes up on a weekend, it’s not such a big deal? We have the bandwidth to handle the unexpected on the weekend- the flexibility. It’s glorious. A mini vacation, of sorts (except with laundry, dishes, and cooking)- a time for our minds to readjust.
Finding ways to inject more flexibility during the week- whether it’s committing to fewer school/work/extracurricular activities to allow flexible timing, or perhaps adding yoga/meditation to increase our mental flexibility- makes the week easier to get through.
Though my career choice is all about delayed gratification- 12+ years of delayed gratification- I am not alone in realizing that it’s healthy to have a little bit of gratification (or sparkle) to each day, so that we are flexible enough to handle the “storms” when they come our way.