The Struggle With Time

Photo by Anastasiya Vragova on

Many people are familiar with that weird space between Christmas and New Year’s where they don’t know what day it is. It’s disorienting to be on holiday and not have the normal Monday to Friday routine.

Sunday Dreads and Friday Fun

For all of my adult life, I’ve followed the routine of working Monday to Friday and having the weekend off. (As a teacher, that’s not really accurate because we work on school stuff all the time: evenings and weekends. However, there are no classes to teach on the weekends.) Sunday night was always a time to prep lessons, attack that pile of marking that’s been sitting there since Friday, and organize my school bag for the next morning. Sleep was a toss and turn event on Sunday night, especially if it was the start of a new school year or term. Fridays were something to be looked forward to: a beacon at the end of a long and stressful week. “Fun Fridays” were lunches with colleagues. Fridays were anticipating a weekend with two days to get caught up on sleep and maybe relax. Well, that’s all changed.

Days really have lost their meaning now.

It really doesn’t matter what day it is and that is unsettling. Time is a blank canvas. That’s a scary thing. I can do or not do things, at any time, or not at all. The blank canvas of time can make me feel like staying in bed all day and giving up. If I haven’t made any plans for the day and no one needs me, inertia sets in. And yet my time is finite and I’d like to see this glob of unplanned time as an opportunity. My time is more flexible now than ever before! I can book appointments in the middle of the day. I can stay up late or sleep in. However, some days that much choice is overwhelming.

I recognize that it takes a lot of discipline to create a schedule for myself that is meaningful enough to motivate me to get up. As a teacher, my days were scheduled down to the minute by bells. I never made my own schedule. I had to follow an institutions’ without any flexibility. I ate when it was time and even bathroom breaks were reliant on the school schedule. I thought about setting alarms on my phone to get me to move from one activity to the next now that I’m retired. (Use a school bell alarm, ironically?) But why would I do that to myself when I found it stressful during my work life? Perhaps just a radio alarm in the morning to get me going?

Maybe, I need to embrace this lack of schedule and accept that there will be slow and unproductive days and that’s ok? Maybe, I just need to keep moving one step at a time and focus on doing the next thing without making a schedule?

I will experiment and see.

“What is a weekend?”

– Dowager Countess, Downton Abby 

Click the link on this quote to watch a very brief history behind the concept of the weekend. It’s a recent phenomena brought about by the industrial revolution.


  1. My time is fairly unstructured for the most part, but I still like to have one or two days in my week that are designated to a recurring activity. It’s my marker to know what day it is. But I also really like the fact that I can cancel, ie get out of it, if I feel like it or if something else comes up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Having set activities as sign posts during the week makes sense. Like that movie, if it’s Monday it must be Belgium? It’s a useful tip, thanks. I do like the flexibility to reschedule if needed too. That’s delightful!


  2. I remember the first while of my retirement being as you have described so well. Then I seemed to organize my days into three blocks, a morning activity, an afternoon activity, and an evening activity. Then as I got into ‘retirement’, less blocks and scheduling, in fact I am happiest when there is no schedule and I have a long block of uninterrupted time to actually start and finish something – like a book, or a creative project. Maybe I am entering the next phase of this retirement thing. Stage 1 – go, go. Stage 2 – go slow. Stage 3 – no go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Retirement definitely seems more like a process to progress along than a destination. I do believe I’m in the go, go stage. I suppose that each stage takes its own sweet time, right? Being happy where you are is the goal. It’s good to hear the wisdom of experienced retirees.


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