You Exist Outside of Work

“Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.”
This essay was originally published as the introduction to Good Work—Edition Nº 16 on Holloway.com.
Soundtrack:
Can I Kick It? by A Tribe Called Quest

There’s this perverted idea that taking time to rest is an indulgence, like catching our breath over the weekend is the equivalent of eating a swimming pool of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. For many of us, our work takes on the personality of a jealous and territorial lover. One day you wake up, hungover from a fight with work the night before, power cords flung around the room, fingers stained with the dregs of coffee we sucked through the filters in the trash, realizing you’ve missed any depth of life outside your codependent relationship with work. I say all of this as someone who loves their work. Each Friday, I head out to meet my best friend in the world for a few too many beers and talk about… what else? My relationship. Work.

But this weekend is a long weekend. It’s Memorial Day Weekend in The United States. If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking about working on Monday. You see a clear schedule and a backlog a mile wide or twenty thousand leagues deep. There’s so much to do. There are people depending on us. There’s a career that needs to be nurtured. And all of that is true. But this weekend, I hope you won’t work on Monday. I hope you step back, call a friend who you’ve lost touch with, sit in that park you always walk past, read that book that’s sat on your shelf, tell your partner that thing you’ve been thinking about, or book that trip you’ve been dreaming of.

Whether you love your work or you look at email like a ball and chain, just remember that you exist outside of this relationship, and it’s never too late to learn more about who you are beyond and before your work. I hope you take your plans for working on Monday and do what the writers of Game of Thrones should have done with this last season’s script: crumple ‘em up and say, “Not today.”

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