Weekend notes are short-form POVs.
I spent Thanksgiving this year in Maine, in a big old house next to the ocean. Snow was in the forecast for the weekend, so our group of eight left a day earlier than expected, arriving just before the storm late Tuesday night. I packed very little, aside from what I knew was absolutely necessary. I also took a book and a notepad, as well as my laptop, which, in the past few months, has started to feel like an appendage. "I'm going to have to work through most of the weekend," I said, as we left.
I've noticed since posting this article — which addresses the unfortunate impulse many of us feel to answer the question, how are you? with a statement about busy we are — that I've been doing exactly that, and constantly. I've been answering every how are you? that's come my way with a response about how overloaded I am, or how overwhelmed, or how I haven't had a weekend in ages. This is almost always followed by something like, "but I can't complain!" or "I'm very lucky!" or "being busy is a good thing!" But, I've begun to wonder.
In Maine, contrary to my plans, I did almost nothing. The days felt suspiciously — and blissfully — long. I'd work for a bit in the mornings and then spend the rest of the day taking snowy walks, or eating too much toast, or sitting in front of a fire, or soaking in a copper bath. For the majority of the week, my book lay untouched on my nightstand; my laptop remained closed. My phone was perpetually missing. I'd find it underneath couch cushions at the end of the day, and when I checked to see if I'd missed anything — an email or a call or a text — I never had.
I should take this opportunity to write something for myself, something unrelated to work, I thought more than once — but then, I'd walk down to the water or find myself wrapped up in a conversation, and I'd forget. The times I did try to write, I'd stare at a blank screen. I don't have any ideas, I'd think, but not sadly.
I resorted to more sitting and strolling and chatting. I watched the snow.
My mind was blank. I was thankful.