Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekend joys

Weekends were made for relaxation. They were thrown in at the end of every work week to give us some time to vegetate and not think about the oodles of responsibilities we have Monday through Friday.

My weekends are not for relaxation. They are thrown in for a couple measly days during which I would like to be wasting time with a worry-free conscience, but when I am actually forced into a feeling of eternal guilt should I not do all of my homework for the week in my 48 hours of free time.

It's for this reason that I've begun to dread the weekends.

In elementary school, teachers always made it a point to not schedule work on Friday so that weekends would be free for us to frolic and enjoy the general splendor of time off.

One of my most terrible memories is from my first year in middle school, when I was sitting in class expecting my math teacher to let us off for our first Saturday after a long and tiring week at school, and instead of writing "Have a good weekend" with a smiley face tacked onto the end, the board was filled with page and problem numbers.

You're not off the hook anymore, my mind told me.

The pain continued through high school, but it was always conquerable. Assignments were large in quantity but short in length, which is perfect for a brain like mine that has been raised on television and expects 15 minute breaks for every five minutes of work.

But getting to college taught me that I couldn't flip channels and decide to stop working. Reading assignments grew from 40 pages for English class (why did I complain about that much reading in high school?) to 150-200 pages every week spread out over three or four classes. Just the thought alone of having to sit down and read bland texts for at least a few hours each week made me sick to my stomach.

When I would hunker down with a course packet or a $50 textbook, I'd watch the minutes fly away and the amount of pages left to read shrink very slightly and very slowly.

So I started loving going to class instead.

Instead of the weekends being the excuse to think about frivolous things and focus my attention away from my responsibilities, they became the time when I was finally free to do outside work, and therefore saddled with ten times as much to do than I was during the school week.

We extend ourselves only so far when we go to class. We're focused on the lecture within the hour and 20 or hour and 50-minute time span. All the other assignments and readings that we're required to do are placed out of our conscience minds, if only for that short amount of time - and somehow it becomes more liberating than actually having time to ourselves to do the work we loathe.

This problem has become magnified because as a Film & Media Studies minor, I'm required to take many classes with screenings where I am forced (oh, so unwillingly) to watch hours of television and film instead of listening to lectures. Though the classes are longer, they feel shorter simply because they don't feel like classes at all. If I was in my room on my own I'd probably be choosing to watch a movie anyway, so having the luxury of doing so on class time is the best reward I could have after typing up copious notes on a lecture.

As a kid I would wait for the bell to ring at the end of the day just so that I could go home and enjoy the solitude and emptiness of my empty house for a few hours. Now it's safe to say I never have that luxury.

It's not that my room is full of people or I don't have solitude in my dorm. Living in a single I get all the emptiness I need. But my time is compromised to the point that I never actually feel alone. My computer has become such an extension of my person, to the point that I actually feel like I'm being watched by it at all times.

Sometimes she (I've given my laptop a gender and a name too, Soleil) says things to me like "You know you haven't transcribed that interview yet" (not really, I'm not schizophrenic).

I do know, Soleil, but why do I have to?

I wish I could call for a whole revamping of the school system so that I didn't have this problem. But in truth, it's me that's the problem and not the school. By overextending myself in work and in play, I don't give myself quite as much time as I need to not feel overwhelmed by whatever I have to do.

Try as I might to incorporate time to do nothing - and you can barely imagine how greatly I adore doing nothing - I am constantly finding ways to make myself productive or to think about making myself productive.

It has gotten so bad that at night when I am in the shower I am considering how much work I can do after I get out and before I go to sleep. Most people just take this time to dry their hair, but I'm busy making lists of all that I have left on my agenda.

This blog, sad as I am to say it, has become a lurker on my agenda. Though I don't intend on stopping any time soon (simply because I get so much satisfaction out of writing once a night), I recognize that this is just another example of how I've put so many personal expectations on myself that I can barely manage to fit in the quiet time that I crave.

Weekends have become a nuisance to me - a time where I just sit around complaining about how much work I have left to do and where I feel unfulfilled constantly. In truth, what needs some changing is me, if only in the form of someone telling me to slow down and stop adding on more jobs to my life.

But since I don't have the time to change or the person to keep me in check, I'm just going to go complain about my oodles of responsibilities. That's what this blog post is, after all.

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