Monday, September 20, 2010

Redefining Mondays

Do you get the Sunday night dreads? The feeling that life as you know it is over and that your week is about to trample any hope you had of relaxation or rest for the next five days? I do. Generally it's on my mind after about lunchtime on Sunday and I can't stop that feeling of uh oh, here comes the week from creeping up on me. I hate that. It's like giving away half of my weekend to a funk of worry.

Monday hasn't been much better--since I've been among the working people of the world, I have woken up Monday morning in a state of already behind and better hurry. I start work Monday morning feeling out of sorts and annoyed, like I can't remember being there just two days ago.

So I've started trying to redefine the Sunday/Monday spread. Since school has started, I'm reframing them both in my mind into something positive and it's making a huge difference. My tweet from this morning is a good example of how I've been trying to talk myself up with some peppy pep talkin':

Or this one from last Monday:

See? Positivity. Vegetables, dangit! I'm trying, okay! I play a similar game when I go in for an interview. I don't remember when it was that I figured out that "nervous" and "excited" feel exactly the same in my body, but I use that to my advantage and I tell myself it's an opportunity, not a threat. That's how I'm trying to look at Sunday and Monday now. An opportunity.

Sunday is an opportunity to get ready for the week. A productive Sunday almost assuredly means a good week around here, anyway. Yesterday we vacuumed and cleaned and I prepped lunches and veggies for the week. I made a big dinner so we have leftovers enough for a few lunches. Everyone picked out five outfits for the week with matching shoes and got them out where they could be found easily. I mapped out my runs, my dinners, and the kids' week at school. E ironed his shirts. None of that took too much effort, but the time it took will be time that pays off during the week.

Today I woke up and tried to get going with some cheerfulness. (Remember in Eat, Pray, Love when Liz has to practice smiling from her liver? Try that.) For me remaining in that cheerful space means waking up early so I'm not in a hurry. I'm finding that a solo cup of coffee before the kids wake up is such a great way to start my day. I took my time this morning but I still managed to be ready before I needed to leave. Feeling like I have extra time almost always improves my mood, so I built in more than I needed to trick myself. The kids got to my mom's on time, I got to school on time, my plans were all ready to go, and I could ease into the work day. It was a great day and even though I'm tired, the fact that I got in a load of dishes after breakfast meant that I could run after school without house worries. The fact that I got my run done before 4:00 PM means I can enjoy some good ol' fashioned Monday night TV time later, guilt-free.

The thing I like best about my new Monday approach is looking at the start of each week like a new chance to start over. I'm trying not to carry worries from work into real life time, and I'm trying not to let the headaches of a week before blend into the next week. No matter how bad a week gets, I get to start anew on Monday. Whether it's in my diet, my running habits, frustrations with work or E, whatever--a fresh start waits on Monday. It's making a huge difference in how much I enjoy my life. I can honestly say I really like my life, and I couldn't always say that.

I know I've written about this tons and tons, but one of the biggest challenges of my thirties so far has been to get over the I'll be happy when-s. What I mean by that is that for most of the time I was a teenager and in my twenties, I've been telling myself that it was okay to be miserable because at some magical date in the future, everything would sort out. Life just isn't that way. I filled every available minute of my life with obligation because of what it would get me in the future. There wasn't any empty space for life to just happen on its own. I'm so much happier now because I'm trying to appreciate what's going on in and around me every single day. Some days are bad and then we start over again tomorrow. But I try not to get so hooked on a ridiculous date at some point far away. There's so much to celebrate in the here and now. Even a Monday. :)


  1. Thank you so much for writing this. I find myself getting caught in this trap all of the time. I'm in my twenties and my husband is in school and I always say, "I'll be happy when he's done with school" or "I'll be happy when he gets a full-time job" or a million other things! I have a really hard time remembering to find happiness NOW! Thank you so much for this blog and that all of us can follow the adventures of you, E and your kids. I know that reading about you and E has helped me in my relationship!

  2. Such a good post, because it is so true how hung up we get on "i'll be happy when" (when i lose 15lbs!) but if we appreciate the here and now, we get so much more out of life. Learning this lesson myself, very slowly though!