Monday, September 28, 2009

Le Weekend

Today is Monday and back to the office after the weekend. Since I am not Jewish, I went to work today unlike most of senior management at the studio. It was a quiet day. But not as quiet as my weekend. I did almost nothing all weekend except lie in bed and sleep. And I feel guilty instead of good. Where does this guilt over not doing anything productive come from?

As far back as I can remember being a semi-responsible person--let's say starting in high school--I had work to do on the weekend. In high school and college there was always course work to do over the weekend. I can remember in college in particular always spending some part of Sunday in the library, even if I had gone away for the weekend.

When I moved to LA to attend UCLA grad school, the weekend was no different from weekdays. Grad students worked 7 days a week. I always went to my office in Franz Hall on the weekend to catch up on some research or writing or grading papers. That habit carried over during my time as a researcher at USC and an assistant professor at KU. Law school was also the same. Too much work and not enough time so I always wound up working on the weekend. By then I was married to a lovable workaholic who works 7 days a week almost all the time. I remember many Saturday nights at home with hubby working so I would try to work too.

Then I worked for law firms for almost 9 years. The life of a law firm associate is one of 7 day work too, particularly when you have billable hour targets to meet. And I had children, who also took up my time on the weekend. And I had to spend the weekends doing errands, filling the larder and cleaning the house.

When I started working at the studio 16 years ago I discovered that almost no one worked at the office during the weekend. The weekends really were your time although sometimes there was some work to finish at home. At that time, however, my children played sports on the weekends year round and one of them was on a traveling team for several years. And as if I did not have enough to do, since I still had to do errands on the weekend, I joined the board and eventually took over the job for two years of running our community's recreational youth soccer league (AYSO) --which serviced over 3000 players.

Even after the sports ended, I started scheduling hobbies on the weekend--piano lessons for 5 years, singing in choirs, gardening. This year, however, I have given up all the hobbies and activities. My weekends are tabula rasa. Most of the time I still have plenty to do--library, food shopping, walking on the beach, other errands. But recently I find myself sleeping most of the weekend. This past weekend I needed to get my car washed and pick up conditioner I left at the hairdressers. I did neither thing. I dragged myself out to Costco with my son but did not make it to the garden store which was our other planned destination. I had lunch with my husband but ate all my other meals in bed. I slept and read a little. Mostly I slept. And I felt completely  depressed that I had spent another "unproductive" weekend.

Habits of activity die hard so I attribute my guilt over inactivity to spending all those years overbooked. I also sometimes think that our time here is so precious. I should sleep when I am dead. But unfortunately once you take on the mantle of the sloth, as I did this past weekend, it is hard to shed it. And Catholics, even lapsed ones, find sloth to be a deadly sin.

From the Pocket Catholic Catechism:

Sloth is the desire for ease, even at the expense of doing the known will of God. Whatever we do in life requires effort. Everything we do is to be a means of salvation. The slothful person is unwilling to do what God wants because of the effort it takes to do it. Sloth becomes a sin when it slows down and even brings to a halt the energy we must expend in using the means to salvation.

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