What is it about Sunday afternoons? For many of us they’re a kind of melancholy time, a limbo between the earlier anticipation that the mere mention of ”weekend” brought and the rush of the work week to come.
Saturdays have a kind of energy about them: to-do-lists abound, and finishing them seems completely feasible, with the weekend stretching out ahead like a glimmering white-sand beach.
Saturday night still feels like weekend, even for those of us who are decades beyond the “party!” that the night once meant. Sunday morning means church or other ritual for many and has its own rhythm until lunch. Which is when–wham! Sunday afternoon hits.
Sometimes I think we still associate the time with schooldays, when it was so often the moment of reckoning for that long-procrastinated paper.
But really, I think the melancholy has a deeper root. Many of us aren’t good with times of transition. Work: we get it. Play: ok. But the grey space in-between? It can make us fidgety.
Not to mention the notion of sabbath rest. The idea that no matter what religion we have, or none, there’s a day set aside when we remember that we’re not in charge of the world. Which we hate to admit will go on functioning just fine if we take a little time off from running it. We’re not good with that idea.We prefer to believe our every act is so indispensable it’s essential we push on with work no matter what, charging ahead to fill every minute with tasks achieved and lists checked off.
It’s easier in some ways to treat Sunday like just another week-workday, or imitate those organized folk who skim past the afternoon altogether: they may be home from the office, but every moment is filled with prep for the week ahead.
I know that given the hectic pace of many people’s lives, Sunday afternoon leisure may not even be an option. But if it is, can we accept those quiet hours? Allow ourselves, with no distractions, to face ourselves and what we are? plain old human beings, that is, not human doings?
How do you do Sunday afternoons?