When I first went back to work after my maternity leave I was living for the weekends. Every work day I counted down to the weekend, when I spend uninterrupted days with my daughter. Every weekend I felt the precious minutes with Isa slipping away, I could see Monday rushing towards me – inevitable, unstoppable. Eventually I realized I was miserable all the time, even when I was with her. Then I took a step back, revisiting some of the most basic Buddhist teachings.
Be present. Be mindful.
I decided that I would no longer spend my weekdays longing for the family time of Saturday and Sunday. And I would not spend those precious weekends dreading their eventual end. I decided that I would live in the present moment feeling acceptance and avoiding judgment. And since I knew I couldn’t actually live in the present moment, I vowed to at least live in the present day and not count down to circumstances I deemed necessary for the manifestation of happiness.
I did this for several months and I was content, genuinely so. The weeks at work were more pleasant and the weekends at home were wonderful. The Sunday blues stopped descending upon me and Mondays ceased to seem insurmountably awful.
Today I woke up with that feeling again; that feeling of, Curse you Monday, my old nemesis! And all day today I’ve been stumbling, crushed under the weight of the week looming ahead. Touché Monday, Touché.
Why is Monday getting the better of me again? Why am I struggling to stay in this day, this moment and not peer anxiously into an unknown future? It’s difficult to be present. I struggle to be mindful. It’s more challenging to do both when I’m tired and run down. I always feel tired on Mondays because it’s so hard to get to sleep on Sunday nights. And of course there’s the business of my impending summer vacation.
I only have five weeks until school is out. Five weeks. I’m trying so hard not to count down until the break. I’m attempting to live each of the next 33 days for itself and not solely as a stepping stone to summer. The next few weeks are precious. They are the last weeks of my daughter’s first year. Isa will turn one in less than a month and I don’t want to squander this time with her wishing it were another time. Just typing that out seems so ludicrous to me.
I know if I wait desperately for summer to come it will go by faster and be less satisfying when it’s finally here. If I live each day free of any preoccupation about summer break I will enjoy that vacation more. And I know I can accept each of these coming days for what it is. I know I this. I just need to do it.
Thank you Monday. Thank you for being a faithful teacher; one who always returns to review the lesson, lest my complacency allow me to forget.