Existential Thoughts from a Three-Day Weekend

I have to remind myself what day it is.

Three-day weekends can have that effect. It’s Monday, and I’m sitting in a half-empty coffee shop deciding this is the time to do all of the little things I can never find time for during a “normal” work week.

Those small, insignificant things that have been bothering me for weeks/months/years.

I start with cleaning up my personal email. This naturally leads to removing myself from multiple email subscriptions I never wanted to be a part of in the first place. Then I edit my daily primary Spotify playlist to remove songs that have grown stale.

Feeling decluttered, I move on to more productive territory. I read a few chapters of a book I had originally meant to finish a month ago. Finally, I edit and update some pages of a book I’ve been writing for far too long.

With that, I’m ready to go. Ready to walk home in the sweltering June heat, only to change my clothes so I can then go to the gym and attempt to burn the weekend’s calories away.

But something has stirred inside my mind.

Maybe it’s the extra hours of the three-day weekend or the rush of brain activity caused by my small accomplishments, but I can’t stop myself from thinking about what I could/should be doing next. Sure, after the gym, I’ll let my dog out, eat something, and hopefully finish up some laundry. But it’s my day off. Shouldn’t I just sit and enjoy some of it?

It doesn’t seem like enough.

I feel a need to focus on more long-term plans for the days beyond this extended weekend. I start thinking about my future, which immediately starts with my career. Am I happy here? Should I pivot to something else? What would that even be? Would I need to do additional training or schooling? Is it too late? If I changed, would I even enjoy it?

I like my current job. It’s the kind of job I can brag about to most people. It’s a very good job that supports me very well. I work with great people. Isn’t that enough? It’s too much to wrap my mind around, and so, my brain moves on to other thoughts. 

I manage to do some mental gymnastics around the subject of my relationship status and stick a landing on my current living situation. Maybe I should consider where I’ll be living a year from now when my lease expires. Do I try to buy a place? Is that even realistic in this economy? Do I even want to own a place? Or is that just what other people are telling me to do?

Whether I buy a place or not, do I want to continue living where I currently live? Or do I want to go somewhere brand new? With my current job, I could literally work anywhere in the world, as long as I have an internet connection.

The possibilities feel oppressively infinite.

I try to focus on the present, and I think about conversation I had with my dad yesterday. He asked what was new. It had been a while since we had talked, and yet I couldn’t think of anything. Life has just been continuing, and I’ve just been living it out.

Am I doing enough? Is my life boring? Maybe it’s just me who is boring.

I think about planning a trip. Some friends and I have been talking about camping. I could look into that. But am I just doing that to distract myself from all of these other questions? Is it just so my life can seem more interesting?

I should be doing more. That’s the constant feeling I have. More of everything all at once, and I don’t even know where to start.

I can feel my own subconscious growing tired of me…

It’s time to bring myself back to the very present moment. I need something tangible. An immediate action I can take. And so, I start writing a long-overdue blog post for my nearly abandoned blog. Of course, before I can actually share it, I have to brush some dust off that blog. It feels manageable enough.

After the post is done, I go to the blog, update some plugins, create a new homepage, and reach a point where things feel good enough to add my latest thoughts. It feels good. Maybe not great. But certainly better than mentally tripping through an existential kaleidoscope.

Maybe if I stopped more often and took a moment to write things like this out, I’d realize it’s not all as overwhelming and impossible as it seems when it’s floating around in my darkness of my mind. Things are much scarier when they’re hiding in the shadows. 

Bring them into the light, and you wonder why you were ever scared of them in the first place.

I like three-day weekends. It feels like it’s how things should be. But I’ve already written too much to dive into an essay on the positives of a four-day workweek. I think now is as good of a time as any to end this tangent.

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by Timothy Snyder