This is one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite series, Downton Abbey. The Grantham family is all sitting down for dinner where they meet for the first time, the new heir to Downton Abbey, Matthew Crawley. By an act of force, Crawley, a practising lawyer, learns that he is to become the heir to the fortunes of Downton Abbey. During dinner, he talks of taking a job to which Lord Grantham admonishes him saying that he needs to involve himself in the affairs of the estate. Matthew says, “Don’t worry about that. I will have plenty of time for that over the weekend.”
It’s then that I crack up. Because here, the absolutely amazing Maggie Smith, in her role as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, gives an astonished look, and asks, “But what is a weekend?”
You can watch that scene here:
Why am I talking about that scene?
A reader wrote to me saying that my last blog post, Everything Is Going To Be Ok, reminded him of how he had spent the last few hours of the weekend bemoaning its loss. “I was lamenting the end of the weekend, followed by the guilt of how I look forward to the simple pleasures of life for which time can be found only on these two days of the week,” he wrote. I smiled when I read that.
Now, I have no weekends, although of late, my business partner and I have tried to carve out a semblance of a weekend the way most other people do. But we usually work through the week. We take our breaks when we want to. It’s a beautiful way to not compartmentalize our life into five days of “let me get through this,” and then two days of bliss. Can you imagine the number of days you lose with that approach? Here’s my thing: If a weekend is lovely, why then do we not lead our lives with every day being a weekend?
Ah. Yes. We got that monster called work. We have to put in that 5-6 days of ‘work,’ which we all claim not to like. And then we look forward to that day or two that we can do what we really like in our life. I get it. But then, I want to ask as Maggie Smith did: But what is a weekend?
Waiting for a weekend means that we are not grateful enough for the five days we get before Saturday arrives. It means that we are perpetually living life in a state of fast forward where we want to get through this unpleasantness to a state that we think we will be comfortable. Let’s not do that to ourselves. Let’s be comfortable getting uncomfortable. There are too many moments to cherish every day. Forget about it being a weekday or a weekend. Let’s not straitjacket our life into these narrow compartments. Let’s not make what we do for a living dictate our living. Let’s live life with breathtaking love for all its moments.
So, I ask you: What is a weekend?
I think Pooh says it better than me: