I woke up this morning, and rolled over: 7:15. I get up, go to the bathroom, and come out – directionless. On a weekday, I’d be headed to the gym, or making the kids breakfast before school – something. But it’s not a weekday. I pull up some sweatpants, wander out of the bedroom and into the kitchen. I look out the kitchen window. The sun is already up, but the day looks dull and gray. And I’m faced with the question: “What am I going to do today?”
This is an easy question to avoid on weekdays: I’m going to work. What exactly I’m going to do at work is often up in the air – but that’s ok. I’m working. I’ll sit down in front of my computer, talk to people, read things, write a post or two, review some code, maybe have a few calls. But no matter what I do, I’m safe from the dreaded question “What am I going to do today?” – I’m going to work, and work is safe. Unquestionable. I have to work to pay for this house, food for my kids, life. So there’s no decision. I work. 5 or 6 rolls around, and I can go relax with the kids, have some dinner, maybe go for a run or watch TV. It’s all safe, because I’ve already done what I’m supposed to that day, so now I can indulge, without pesky questions about how I’m spending my time.
But that’s not today. Today as a weekend, and in theory, I’m not working. So I have to make decisions.
On it’s face, “What am I going to do today” is not so hard – I can do any number of things, and I have a lot of ideas: I can sit around the house and read. I can play video games (with or without the kids). I can exercise. I can plan a trip with the family – maybe a drive to the mountains, or to the trampoline park for the kids. I can cook – maybe it would be nice to have a couple of loaves of homemade bread this week? I can clean the garage, or do yardwork. I can build furniture, or start on some other creative project.
But it turns out the difficulty of the question is not about the actual actions I’m going to take – the feeling of dread that comes with it is not about a lack of options, or impending boredom. The issue, the real question, comes later: “Am I satisfied with what I did today?” Especially on a weekend: if you accept “workdays” as free from this kind of personal scrutiny (which is an idea that deserves more thought and a separate blog post), then the weekends are particularly important – the 2 days out of 7 that you get to choose entirely how your time is spent. What are we, if not how we spend our free time, without constraints, without direction or duties to hide behind?
Is it ok to sit and watch TV all day?
Cleaning is safe, right? Nobody can question if the guy cleaning his garage is using his limited time wisely. Right?
I don’t have an answers here, this isn’t that kind of post. What I think I know is this: a day that does not that move you meaningfully toward your goals, or fulfill you in some way, is wasted. And we only get so many.