Larry Banman/Without a Doubt: Three-day weekends a welcome respite
May 26, 2008
Three-day weekends can provide a wonderful respite from the work schedules that most of us have adopted. Rare is the person who doesn’t appreciate a “break in the action” and a chance to recharge his or her emotional and physical batteries.
The traditional holidays also provide a break in the routine, but they generally are filled with travel as well as traditional family activities. The annual two-week vacation can also become such an epic saga that a person literally has to go back to work to recover. The problem is that we tend to look forward to that time with such anticipation that the event itself cannot possibly live up the expectations surrounding the event.
The three-day weekend, on the other hand, is the perfect length. It isn’t long enough to plan a trip to Disneyworld. Since we don’t plan any trip of consequence, we don’t overplan for those days. The weekend is more suitable for trips to see local destinations or simply to stay at home and relax.
I often talk about my farming background. The picture I paint is often one of working sunup to sundown with no time for rest. It is true that animals, crop growing cycles and the weather often dictated that holidays and time off be scheduled around work.
After leaving the farm, it took me a while to get used to the fact that you could make plans for a three-day weekend and fully expect to keep those plans. I can remember several family gatherings that were scheduled to be picnics and became something quite different due to an emergency of sorts with animals. However, life on the farm for me was not always the onerous existence that I portray.
A typical weekend for our family included work and chores on Saturday, church on Sunday and an afternoon nap. By the time a person looked up, it was Sunday evening and time to do whatever homework had been assigned. I remember that profound sense of relief I had when I realized there was no school the next day and impending deadline was put off for another day. Frankly, the homework was normally put off for 24 hours, when a new round of deadline pressure ensued.
When I entered the world of hourly labor, I came to embrace the concept of an extra day’s respite from the normal routine of life. I also remember the first job I had where I actually got paid for that day. What a concept. For me, it was like finding money. I have to admit that over the years, like most everybody else, paid holidays have become more a sense of entitlement than a treat. From the perspective of introspection, that is a personal attitude which I need to reverse.
There are numerous jobs where holidays actually mean more work. Anybody in a service industry knows that holidays and weekends are where the money is to be made. Ask any restaurant manager when his or her last day off was and he or she is likely to struggle for an answer. Our youngest daughter works as a waitress to pay for expenses as she earns a college degree. Coordinating a family reunion or trip is difficult because her schedule is essentially opposite the schedules of the rest of the family.
This last weekend illustrates what I love about three-day weekends. As a member of a service organization, I spend a good portion of time in fundraising activities. This past weekend was the Redneck Mudshuffle which, by the way, was a wonderful event. Saturday and Sunday were consumed with the preparation for and the participation in serving concessions at that event. I know am not alone in these endeavors as, during that time, I saw quite a few people engaged in preparing for that and other events. By Sunday afternoon, I was exhausted. However, I was buoyed by feelings of profound relief as I realized, I had a day off to recuperate and relax. It was as if I had been given a gift.
Monday morning dawned bright and clear and I adopted a leisurely pace. No phone calls, no deadlines, no pressure. My wife has a wonderful way of allowing me to enjoy those days. I also realized how gracious it is for my employers to give me that day. For that I am thankful.
And, for many people, there is the often unadvertised benefit of the three-day weekend. When that day off falls on Monday, it is followed by ” the four-day work week. Enjoy.