Operation: Take Back the Weekend

Farmers market american flag

For a long time, I joked that I didn't know meaning of the word 'weekend'. But there was nothing funny about the seemingly endless hours of work to which I subjected myself. Awake at 5 am. Immediately at the computer. There 'til 8 pm with few breaks. 7 days a week. I'm ashamed to admit I felt a sick sense of pride rattling off those figures. But truthfully, I wasn't excelling at any of my endeavors, I wasn't helping anyone to the best of my abilities, and I was definitely hurting myself.


Here's the deal. I'm extremely uncomfortable with unstructured time. The thought of sitting around with a cup of coffee and no particular place to go? Makes. My. Skin. Crawl. On the rare occasions when I would step away from my laptop, I'd take an exercise class, cook a quick meal, tick items off my to-do list. I thought I was creating space for relaxation. Retrospectively I was filling it right back up again, rather than letting serendipity seep in—or heaven forbid, allowing it to remain empty.


So lately I've been practicing weekends, with practice being the operative concept. It's a 'try, try again' situation. Sometimes I will have to work on a Saturday, and yes, I'm writing this blog post on a Sunday. But last weekend I lounged in a sun puddle all morning with a girlfriend. Our aimless chat about boys and art and life evolved into an impromptu iPhone portraiture lesson. Not knowing what could happen (or not happen) when I stay still is quietly exhilarating. I've found that comfy clothes, simple household goods, healthy foods, and great friends ease me through my aimless weekend, but that's me. I'll bet you have your own tricks of the trade. If you don't, maybe we can wander the skin-crawly discomfort together? After all, we have a lifetime of weekends ahead of us. Let's start practicing now!

Unessential essentials: 1. Apolis Market Tote 2. Oh Comely Magazine 3. Blue Bottle Coffee Beans 4. Striped Cashmere Scarf 5. Vince Textured Sweater 6 . Heath Ceramics Studio Mug 7. Nag Champa Beauty Soap Images: 1. Emily Johnston Instagram 2, 3. The Why We Love Instagram 4. Me!

  • http://themarginalian.blogspot.com Emily

    Such an important post! I miss my weekends now that I am back in school, but I am trying to find small pockets of unstructured time to decompress. It’s so important. Great post, Anne!

  • http://www.ajphotostylist.net Annette

    you go gurl! proud of you…enjoy life it goes very very quickly…XO

  • http://www.onepartgypsyblog.com rachel

    i love this post. so important to recognize when working all day isn’t actually productive or helpful to yourself anymore! I too hate unstructured time but try not to work on the weekends…. so now i try to reserve sat and suns for “personal structured time” .. i.e. tweezing my eyebrows, reading magazines, riding my bike, cooking a fancy lunch… things that make ME happy and are unrelated to work. Good luck on your weekends!

  • La Maison Fou

    Great post, luv a weekend full of many segments of time! Good weekend to you Anne.

  • http://www.BeReadyBravely.com Naomi

    I just moved to Kerala, India and suddenly find myself being my own boss. Honestly, I’m hoping to inherit a little of your “problem”… I’ve never had unstructured time before and I’m wondering what it will look like for me!
    xo Naomi – http://www.BeReadyBravely.com

  • http://profile.typepad.com/harryc1 Harryc

    According to Einstein, creativity is the residue of wasted time.

  • http://www.tomorrowtodayblog.com rita

    i love this… unlike you, i live for unstructured time, but found myself without any when i was getting my MBA at night. the first year was basically hell as i never had a chance to breathe, but then i realized that refocusing, reprioritizing, and farming some tasks out (it’s just worth it to pay people to do certain things if you are very busy!) could open my weekends back up for long brunches, travel, creative projects, etc. and i was a better, happier person because of it. even though i’m done with school now, it seems like it will always be a delicate balance b/c there is always something else i could do… but remembering how miserable being fully scheduled made me helps me to prioritize down time!

  • http://www.ournaturalheritage.org Caitlin

    Love this post! Things are better now, but last year I often dealt with a ton of anxiety and crankiness over the weekend. Now I try to not to let myself make a list of tasks, and only do things that really are important to get done (there may only be one or two that weekend). And I love your line about letting “serendipity seep in” I am so appreciating the times I get to just relax and read or do a craft project IF the mood strikes me :)

  • http://www.besottedbrand.com Tristan B.

    Oh, I so know what you are talking about on all fronts. The sense of pride when announcing you work 23hours a day and have no life like it’s a badge of honor, the sitting still and not being able to get comfortable, but it’s a process to just ‘be’. Friends are so important and to cherish those relationships needs to be a priority, besides it feels SO much better than staring at a computer until your eyes bleed!