Jan Aclan is a current Praxis participant. This piece was originally published on his personal blog.
Ever since I dropped out of college, Saturday lost its charm. Every day is a weekend and Mondays mean nothing. Because of the absence of classes, each day matters. Personally, I would feel rather guilty for doing nothing all day. At least when I was in school, I can pat myself on the back and say, “Hey, way to go to class. Looks like your day’s over at three o’clock!”
I used to hate Mondays. You hate Mondays. Seems like everyone hates Mondays. Yet, the reality is, I didn’t hate some arbitrary set of 24 hours. I hated waking up early for school. And I hated that I had five more days of it until the next weekend. Outside of school, hard work doesn’t stop because it’s Saturday.
And on the flip side, play doesn’t stop because it’s Monday. Growing up, I maintained a false dichotomy between work and play. Fun is irresponsible and work is a grind. As children, we relied on school to give us permission to play. It is as if to say we need to stop working so we can play and we need to stop playing so we can work.
In elementary school, recess was always 30 minutes. School established that play existed for only those 30 minutes. But wait! If we work hard enough, we can earn extended recess! Ah ha! We had to earn our right to play. Or if we were especially disruptive in class, recess was taken away and detention was had by all.
Either way, as soon as recess was over, it was back to work—back to learning. And as soon as the last bell rang at three o’clock, hard was over and play can begin again. Because hard work can’t be fun and play can’t be productive, right? Obviously, we know this to be untrue. But if that’s the case, why are weekends so valued?
Even on a larger scale, we spent around 75 percent of the year in school. But that other 25? We celebrated the beautiful phenomenon known as summer vacation. After all, a large majority of our lives must be hard work just so we can have a couple sweet breaths of play and freedom. That’s why the right path in life is slaving away at a 9-5 until you can retire old and exhausted. Once you reach retirement, only then you can have your freedom.
If it’s not clear, I’m lying. You were born with freedom; no one gives it to you. While waiting for the last bell to ring, school deludes you into believing that you must earn your freedom. Whether it’s Monday or Saturday, you have freedom. Play and work don’t have to be exclusive. It’s up to you to craft your lifestyle around both. You don’t need to be bound by class schedules or a 9-5. Living for the weekend is no way to lead your life.
In the wonderful words of Jason Mraz, “You don’t need a vacation when there’s nothing to escape from.”