Do not let one moment go by that doesn’t remind you
That your heart, it beats 900 times every single day
And that there are enough gallons of blood to make everyone of you oceans
Do not settle for letting these waves that settle
And for the dust to collect in your veins
I devour Instagram, unabashedly. I check it more often than I should, and when I’ve exhausted my own feed, I spend lots of time randomly exploring the “Discover” page (as if my scrolling through stranger’s Instagram feeds was the same as truly “discovering” something). I do this weird thing where I purposely won’t subscribe to an acquaintance of celebrity, yet every few weeks I’ve check back and just, you know, see how they’re doing or whatever. Ayesha Curry, randomly, is on this list. I don’t know why this list of mine exists. There have been words and words waxed about Instagram, and how it’s a form of social currency and social presentation, and how millennials are too obsessed with food and on and on and on. Whatever, that’s not the point of this.
For me, Instagram—and social media in general—acts as the primary vessel for our collective complaints and emotions as a homogeneous section of society (and in this I mean that I firmly recognize that my Instagram feed is in every way representative of my narrow corner of society, as much as it might make me look better to deny that), and in no way do I notice that more than in the way we collectively seem to take twisted gratification in grinding and plodding our way through the traditional American work week: Monday-Friday, 9-5.
It starts, for me, on Mondays. Coffee shops I visit will post a picture of coffee with some sort of caption like:
Case of the Mondays? An extra espresso shot will get you through! Open 6-6. Come stop by and say hello.
That bakery up the street encourages me to quell my Monday blues by starting it with a croissant. Hell, even that random small-scale production candle company in California or the random person I follow in New York because they post photos of beautiful food seems to have the Monday sickness blues—Mondays suck, so here’s a photo of my fun this weekend. That girl from college I follow—Ugh, Mondays, right?! Reluctance. Annoyance. Ugh, another day. Another work week. Back to the damn grind.
Tuesday remains fairly quiet, only because everybody seems to be gearing up their energy and social media currency for the big one: Hump Day (the “youth” term for Wednesday, for the uninitiated / my grandparents).
“Hump Day” is ruining our happiness. Allow me to explain.
And then Friday comes, and everyone breaks into sheer ecstasy—before the work days has even begun, Madewell has probably posted something with a caption similar to FriYAY! A sunrise run from a friend is accompanied with joyous praises of this happy, happy Friday morning. By the afternoon, Instagram feeds change from coffee or cubicle walls to happy hour drinks, and captions turn to joy, “Draaaaanks because it’s FRIDAY!!!!” There’s normally an ironic TGIF or seven in there, as well.
Though I am generally vehemently opposed to the 40-hour work week (which was invented by Henry Ford, because scientists deemed 8 hours per day as the most effective for human beings on an assembly line, which psychologists have since debunked as 6 hours, not 8—look it up! Rage against capitalism, gah!), I get even more frustrated by this collective adult mindset of it being something we have to get through in order to get to the “better” stuff, that the best bits happen in a 48 hour period on the weekend, and that the rest is just something to slog through, uninspired and overworked, waiting. Waiting. Waiting for what?
If we treat 5 of our 7 days every week on this planet as a bore, then won’t our lives add up to a bore 5 out of 7 times?
Also, this attitude simply exudes privilege, which I think goes too often unacknowledged in the 40-hour-work week of modern America. The single mother working several jobs probably doesn’t even have a Hump Day to climb over, because she works part-time on Saturdays, and Sundays, as well. We forget that we have jobs to go to—we have lives that make weekends worth aching for and striving for. Leisure is a luxury folks, and so is your Lazy Sunday sleep-in, if you’re so inclined. That fancy Instagram shot with a magazine, a smoothie bowl, and coffee on a perfectly messy bed of white sheets (which always gives me anxiety, by the way—who ACTUALLY would eat those things in bed?!) represents a reality foreign and impossible to many not just around the world, but in our own country. In our own towns and communities.
What if we changed the mentality to one of gratitude? On a Monday morning, instead of weighing ourselves down from our first waking moment, groggy with sleep, body still heavy, yet mind already racing through tasks and responsibilities, what if we took a moment to breathe, to sit, to thank—because we’ve been gifted another day, another week, right? A week to fill as we are able, a week inevitably brimming with both unexpected challenges and unexpected joy. I’m going to—plot twist—quote the Bible here with Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” Whatever you choose to call your god or goddess, it’s there in the text, man—“Rise and shine!” That sunrise that comes every single day, that keeps coming through war, through heartache, through the ins and outs, the ups and downs, of human history. What if we changed the mindset to one of curiosity and surprise? These days move, and they move fast, and we are alive and free and burning, growing, with it all, with the whole, crazy, messy vortex of this life. “Because just the like days, I burn at both ends.”*
I love the weekend; who doesn’t? But I wonder if we can change the conversation. Life is not what we do on the weekends. Life is happening right now, every gritty second of “now.” Can we quit counting down every single week until Friday? Because hey—even Tuesdays can come with unexpected sunshine, a quick cup of coffee with a friend, a surprise. Shake the dust.
So, grab this world by its clothespins
And shake it out again and again
And jump on top and take it for a spin
And when you hop off shake it again
For this is yours, this is yours
Quotes are from the amazing, new-classic poem “Shake the Dust” by Anis Mojgani. I recommend his original spoken word performance if you haven’t heard it.