This is the exchange we’ve been having for the last few weeks at the start of each day, whether or not it’s Saturday. (We started with, “Happy retirement,” but that didn’t last long.)
Sometimes, on actual Saturdays, we say, “Happy weekend” instead, but what that really means is: Meh.
Let’s Start By Talking About Saturdays
For our entire lives, Saturdays have been the day of magical promise. Untainted by the Sunday Blues that follow, and not infected by mandatory work and email (or school work and attendance before that) like the weekdays. Even when we had to do work on Saturdays, it was rarely on the same kind of timeline that a weekday would mandate. Usually it was just to get someone something at some point. And if it was homework that needed doing, well that could surely wait until Sunday. (Or, erm, Sunday night. Late night.)
More than any other day of the week, those precious Saturday hours belonged to us alone, a feeling surely shared by the millions who work or go to school on a Monday through Friday schedule.
We spent all these years looking forward to a life full of more Saturdays, and now we’re here. We have nothing but Saturdays in front of us. Each day is essentially like the one before it and the one after it, except that some days I need to write a blog post, and other days Mark has volunteer board meetings.
But even though we’re still only about two months into early retirement, we’ve already noticed something odd about days and time.
The flow of days makes far less sense when you’re not punching a clock or serving clients when they’re at the office. Suddenly weekdays and weekends blur together, and the thought that someone would answer your email one day but not the next feels arbitrary, a little ridiculous even. The idea that stores don’t open and close at the same time every day, or that you might have to wait 64 hours to speak to a human at your health insurance company — none of it makes sense anymore.
And those magical Saturdays, the day that always gave us a jolt of hope that something amazing (and not work-related) would happen? Can I be honest?
Retirement has kinda ruined Saturdays.
Not the days themselves — they’re just days, after all. But the magic is suddenly gone. And with it, our perception of the meaning of a day.
Saturdays Are Magical — Until They’re Not
Saturday is Shabbat for some, a work day for others, a day of errands and emotional labor for still more, and the magical day for the rest of us. (Of course, that’s a recent thing, too, following the passage in the 1930s of the Fair Labor Standards Act, driven by the labor unions, which made the 40-hour workweek — and weekends — the law.)
And for those of us for whom Saturdays carry that magic, we invest ourselves in that. We come to rely on that magic, that hope, that sense of open-ended possibility that no other day of the week can offer.
But when, suddenly, every day is Saturday, the magic disappears. With no yang of the weekdays, the yin of the weekends has no power. So though we are still very much in love with early retirement, there is a small part of us that mourns the loss of that magic that was made possible entirely by the contrast with other days of the week.
Oh, and there’s one more thing:
Saturdays are actually our least favorite day of the week now.
Not because we miss the magic, but for more practical reasons. Everything is full of people on Saturdays. I made the mistake of going grocery shopping down the hill in Reno last Saturday, and I won’t repeat it. While working, I almost always shopped after getting off a plane, which was nearly always on weekdays, and somehow never learned how much worse Saturdays are for shopping and errands. Lesson learned.
And all the stuff that drew us to the mountains — skiing, hiking, biking, paddling — is worse on Saturdays, too. On a powder day (not that we’ve gotten many of those in this super warm and back-to-the-drought year) that happens to fall on a Saturday, forget about even making it down the highway to the ski resorts. The traffic clogs the roads so early that it’s a crawl at best, and a complete standstill at worst. And we can’t ski the resorts on Saturday or Sunday, even if we want to, thanks to the Squaw/Alpine bronze pass getting even more restrictive this year. Even without snow, the trailhead parking lots are full, the beaches are packed and the climbing walls are all occupied.
Which sounds a lot like complaining about a day that is the best day of the week for a great many people. It’s like dissing everyone’s favorite movie. And this isn’t that at all. It’s sharing the surprising observation at how quickly we can go from loving, needing, craving and relishing Saturdays to preferring any other day of the week to them.
You wily, shape-shifting beast, Saturday. We knew you as one thing, but really you were another. We were attached to an illusion.
Life Now: Zombie Apocalypse Saturdays
Other than Saturdays, which we mostly spend at home to avoid crowds who are out and about, we live our lives a lot more peacefully now. That grocery shopping experience last weekend was probably all the more jarring because we’ve already gotten so used to empty stores. (A far cry from our old days in West LA, when Whole Foods Parking Lot rang true in every possible way.)
And I’ve started calling our days our zombie apocalypse Saturday. Because we’re doing what feel like weekend things — going to movies, skiing, going to the grocery store — but with almost no one around.
The Surprising Malleability of Time — and the Switcheroo
I love how you can think about something every day for years, and write hundreds of thousands of words about it, doing your best to examine it from every possible angle. And yet, when you get there, you can still get blindsided almost instantly by something that feels incredibly obvious after the fact, but which you never anticipated.
I never expected to lose the Saturday magic — or to miss it. I never ever expected to almost resent Saturdays, for being the days with fewer options than all the rest.
And — to point the finger at a different day of the week — I never ever ever expected to love Mondays. Sure, I’d heard other early retirees who got here before we did express their love for their former weekday nemesis, and I thought, “Oh, it must just be because you used to hate Mondays, so the absence of hate feels like love.”
But I was wrong. It’s more than that. For me at least, Mondays now capture some of that old Saturday magic. We’re not stuck at home waiting for the crowds to clear out. We’re not avoiding travel on the weekend while rates are highest. We’re not unable to check practical things off our list because other people are actually working and responding.
Mondays are the day when we return to infinite possibility. When we can venture back into the world without battling the masses (really just wasting a lot of time waiting in line or in traffic). When we don’t have to pay a premium to do whatever it is we want to do.
Which makes every Monday a relief. The start of a new stretch of days that are completely ours to spend as we wish, not to feel constrained, or even just like we’d rather not go out.
What a crazy switcheroo, and it happened like THAT. Our whole lives we love Saturdays and despise Mondays, and them BOOM. They trade places in an instant.
Don’t Aim for More Saturdays, Aim for the Best Kind of Mondays
We still greet each other with “Happy Saturday,” despite the day losing its glow. We refuse to give up that Saturday magic, and are holding onto it in our own way, by making every day Saturday in our minds.
Of course, every day isn’t actually Saturday, so our silly little morning charade isn’t necessarily something to aim for. If I could go back in time and drop some knowledge on myself of a few years ago — or even a few decades ago — I would say this:
Don’t get so attached to Saturdays. Don’t aim for more of them. Instead, create a life in which you can live out the best kind of Mondays. Or, better yet, don’t get attached to the days at all. Aim for the magic, the possibility, the wide open canvas of unrestricted time. Because everything you feel about the days now will change overnight.
We’re just beginning this next life of ours, and just over 50 days in, I clearly haven’t learned all the wisdom there is to be learned from it — or maybe any of it, beyond this. But it’s both disorienting and wonderful to watch this immediate change happen in our perception of time and days and what’s possible when.
And I can’t wait to see what else early retirement has to teach me.
Let’s Talk Days and Time!
Have you ever experienced something like this, perhaps during a break from work or school? Or are you like me and you’ve always been in school or working and never gave your mind a chance to detach fully from the meaning we place on days? Any other similarly mindblowing realizations you’ve come upon in making big life changes? Especially for those who’ve already retired, we’d all love to hear some pearls of wisdom of what comes next. Share in the comments, and let’s discuss!
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Categories: we retired early
We always joke that we have a duty to stay off the roads and away from shops or activities on a weekend. If we do have to get out and do something on a Saturday we go out almost furtively and hope no one guesses we are retired and could actually do this shopping or visit this attraction or do this walk between Monday to Friday. We think we have a duty to get out there when everyone else is at work. But we do get a bit cross when a lovely sunny day falls on a weekend! Welcome to the whole seven days of the week.
I like that! It’s our moral imperative to stay out of the way of those who have more limited time. It’s like priority airline boarding for people with disabilities or families with young children — we need to give that priority to those hampered by full work schedules. :-) And thank you! The full seven-day week is a marvelous thing so far!
You have arrived! Another thing: avoid grocery stores on the 1st of the month…that’s when the less fortunate receive their monthly SNAP benefits. The cs can be worse than Saturdays! We now go to “Monday Breakfast” instead of Sunday breakfast. In Reno, Tuesday movies are $5.25 all day. Never go to Costco on the weekend. You got this!
Roger that. ;-)
I’ve heard to avoid the store on the last day and first day of the month, and on the 15th as well, just because of regular paycheck timing. And where do you get the $5.25 movies? We are a bit addicted to the Galaxy Sparks and its bit comfy recliners, so pay the extravagant $9.50 to go there. ;-)
Yes, I think this is called living in “off peak” times. I’ve found a lot of this to be true for me as well even though I’m still working 2 days a week. What I’ve done is started spending a lot of Saturday doing my side-hustle, so I’ve replaced it with work. The kind of work that the early retirement police would say “gotcha!” to. But I don’t feel like dealing with any stores or trails on Saturday as they’re too crowded.
For me Mondays and Tuesdays have been bliss since I’ve been taking those off most weeks. And I even slept in today – until 6:00!
Oh man, it’s crazy how much I’m hearing from the retirement police over doing a few paid speaking gigs! ;-) Like, calm down people! It’s a few days of work ALL YEAR. I’m still retired. Hahahahaha. Either way, I think making Saturday a work day makes tons of sense. Mentally, I’m not there yet, just because Saturday is so deeply ingrained in me as a fun day, but I bet I’ll get there.
Keep working on that later sleep! We made it til noon today — nearly 11 hours! WHO AM I?!?!?!?!?!?!
As usual…awesome post! Since I’ve been officially “not working”…exactly one year…the overriding theme that has struck me….is the
no routine for my schedule. After following a very structured routine for 29 years……this past year has been different for me EVERY SINGLE week. No complaints…very blessed and grateful!
Thanks so much! :-) I’m intrigued that you’ve found each week different even after a year. I keep wondering when we’ll find the new rhythm or routine, but maybe the answer is never!
I know what you talking about. Went through the same adjustments and feelings when I took 1 year of mat leave.
Oh I bet! And especially because you had the added time warp of a baby’s feeding schedule. That must have really thrown everything off and made for truly wacky time perception!
Oh yeah, I know this feeling well! As farmers who set our own schedule, the days don’t hold as much meaning. I at least have our farmers market days to anchor the week, but for my husband who works ON the farm, each day is much like the last.
And, living in a very popular tourist area, we for sure love and appreciate the magic of Mondays, and are so glad we get to take advantage of them. 🙂
That makes so much sense! And I love your word choice — “anchor.” I do think that’s true that most people are anchored by work days, and you are anchored a little by the farmers market. Right now I’m feeling anchored only by the blog posting schedule, so need to decide if that’s good, or if I want to introduce other anchors! ;-)
This is how we know for sure that your retirement isn’t a scam – it’s SO nice to go to the store when no one else is there. :)
Ha! Well said. Looking forward to hitting the store Tuesday midday and have it all to myself. ;-)
I had a very similar experience when I “retired” last summer! We now tend to hit any store (mostly the grocery store – because food!) during weekdays, and it’s so nice and quiet! Honestly, the hardest part for me is remembering what day of the week it actually is. Here’s to keeping on finding little things that make the retirement experience even sweeter!
That’s good to know it’s not just us! ;-) It IS hard to remember what day it is — though in all honesty, that was true while working, too. Hahahaha. But man, it’s great to be able to shop midday and midweek! ;-)
This post is the first one where it sounds like you two are finally settling in to this whole retirement thing. I experienced a bit of this on maternity leave, believe it or not. My husband was working a ton of hours at the time (Saturdays included), so Mondays/weekdays in general tended to be the better ones, because it meant days my few friends who stayed home had time to hang out instead of doing “family stuff.” I was also working 10-20 hours a week at totally random times. Other than the stress of also caring for a baby, I actually loved having almost total control of WHEN I actually did my work.
What a great observation! I think that’s true. I’m really not thinking about work, and it’s hard to believe I’ve only been away from my career for less than two months. It’s sooooo in the rear-view mirror. And I totally believe you experienced this on mat leave! We have several FI or soon-to-be-FI friends for whom mat leave was what convinced them that they wanted to be done with work and have control over their own time. ;-)
Funny that for me it taught me the opposite 😂
I mean, I can see that too! Especially wanting to have a part of your life where you get to excel as an adult with a big brain. ;-)
I’m so envious! I totally agree about getting the Sunday Blues – I like to call them a case of the SMondays. I’m so looking forward to when I can finally wake up everyday with the feeling of “Saturday possibilities”.
I’d love to be able to recreate some of that feeling while still working. One thing I think would be great would be to be able to work from home some of the time. Just the prospect of being able to drink my coffee at home instead of during a commute sounds amazing.
The hilarious thing is that I now get a tiny form of different Sunday blues, because I’ve assigned Sundays as my main blog work day. So I know I have to write in the evening and do other catch-up stuff earlier in the day, and that’s been just the tiniest womp womp each Sunday. But I wouldn’t trade back to the old Sunday blues for a million bucks! Hahaha. ;-)
Is working remotely a day or two a week something you could negotiate? I hate the way that Tim Ferriss suggests you negotiate this in The Four-Hour Workweek, because it’s so manipulative, but the basic premise is sound: demonstrate on a trial basis that you can work efficiently from home so it’s not much of a question when you ask for it to be permanent.
It’s super interesting to me that you got blind-sided by this, because it seems so painfully obvious to me. In fact, it’s part of the reason I really love taking ‘staycations’ – just some time off work in the middle or the end of a week for no reason. No plans, not even necessarily errands to run, just a Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off work to enjoy and decompress.
And those were always way better than Saturdays. I could do stuff if I wanted – like go grocery shopping at 11 on a Wednesday – that I couldn’t otherwise, and that was chaotic at best on the weekends with everyone else trying to do the same thing. It’s the exact thing you’re describing, and I’ve been enjoying those types of days for years now. Of course, I can’t exactly do this all the time, haha
I like Saturdays because I don’t have to sacrifice a day of vacation (or go unpaid on a day I otherwise would be making money) but I’ve always preferred the week days with no work. :)
I’ve anticipated a LOT of different things about early retirement (350 posts here), but just not this thing. ;-) Hahahaha.
Very interesting! Often when I get sucked into long conference calls, I look at a map on my office wall and daydream about the places we will go and see when we retire. But I have also heard retirees say that travel has a different feel or is less desired because the “escape” is no longer necessary. I think it’s a similar concept to the “new Saturday”. I agree that we should make each day special by living the life we want, all the time. It’s hard to do when caught up in the rat race at work or home, but your perspective provides fuel for the fire to make it happen. Hope today’s Saturday is a good one for you!
Oh I know that daydream well! And while I can’t speak to years of early retirement experience, I can say that so far, I DO feel less urgency to plan trips. Or to use my massage gift certificate I got for Christmas. Or to do anything that feels like the escape from work. Life at home is pretty great as it is. Of course we WILL travel plenty, but taking the yang of work away sure mellows the yin of all the rest. ;-) I hope you had a great real Saturday!
I work odd hours because I work in healthcare so I usually have at least 1 day off during the week, I too try and avoid grocery stores and everything during the weekend. We haven’t gotten much snow here either but on days we did I was surprised to see a lot of people out snowshoeing or cross country skiing, couldn’t help but wonder if they were early retired, worked second shift or were on vacation.
That makes total sense. And I do think there are a LOT of folks in general now who work non-traditional schedules, so it doesn’t surprise me that you saw plenty of folks out when the snow happened!
I feel like you may have touched on this a bit in another article. I remember something about shopping at off-times. Or maybe it was just a comment that I made on that article.
We have something similar in Newport RI, but it’s the summer/tourist season and the rest of the year. The good thing about the summer tourist season is that there are plenty of festivals and things to do. The bad is that this comes with a mess of people and traffic. Saturday is a double whammy. However, the off-season is great because it empties out and the restaurants discount heavily because there’s so much competition. (A restaurant can make a ton of money in the summer time, so there are a lot of them.)
Last week, I got a haircut and the barber (barberess?) asked me about taking the day off. I was like, “Oh, well I kind of work my own hours and ask you can tell my hair needs cutting very badly, so that became the priority.” Then we got into a whole discussion of blogging.
If the bar I’m trying to meet is never touching on a topic twice ever, I’m afraid I don’t have many more posts in me. Hahahaha. ;-)
It’s interesting the hair stylist would even ask that question because I feel like every person who’s ever cut my hair was only available during work hours. So it was always a long lunch kind of thing. My main hair question now is how I break up with my stylist without hurting her feelings (small town and all) now that $90 cuts aren’t in the budget! ;-)
You might not need to break up with her. See if your hair will deal with less frequent cuts. And talk to her about a style that will allow you to extend your time between cuts. A good hairdresser and a good mechanic are not to be treated lightly. ;) A $40 haircut isn’t worth it if it looks like doodoo 2 weeks after the cut. In any case, she might be able to suggest a style that wears longer so instead of 4-6 cuts/year you can get by with 3.
Long time listener. First time caller. . . :)
Hi Megan! Thanks for saying hi. :-) That is totally reasonable advice except that I’ve already been on a 3-cut-a-year schedule for a loooong time. ;-) I *definitely* judge stylists on the basis of how well a cut grows out, and have only stuck with people who give me a cut that I can wear for many months. Totally agree on that!
I got a glimmer of this during the holidays when I, along with most of my colleagues, just “dabbled” with work. I remember waking up and truly not knowing if it was Tuesday or Wednesday. It was disorienting at first, but I loved it.
Sunday scaries and Monday-ness subsided significantly after I stopped travelling for work. I’ve been off the road for a few years now and I still relish not kicking off my week at the airport. However, some of it still lingers. So, now I’m thinking of ways to ways to weave some weekend into my weekdays. I really like the idea of blurring the line and make everything start to feel like unrestricted time right now instead of something far off to strive for. Thanks for the advice!
Oh those are the best holiday times! When you aren’t working much but don’t have to burn vacation days.
And I am feeling that work travel withdrawal now — it’s weird! I did a quick trip for fun work last week, and there was something comforting about it. We’ll see how it goes becoming a very seldom traveler!
Very interesting perspective. When I was working, Friday was the best work day, as the hope was finally within the reach. No doubt, Monday was the worst, and it took forever to get through. The Sunday Blue was real to me, and started right after the lunch. I dreamed about retirement every day.
After retiring for almost 3 years, I still love the retirement life very much. But the lines between the weekends and workdays are blurred.
Weekends lost its special meaning. It’s like this: I used to taste sugar only on weekends, now the sugar is available to me 7 days a week. Sometimes I forgot what the taste of sugar is like. I listen to my local classic music station a lot. Because of the music, I prefer the work days, when my familiar and favorite hosts are there. The weekend program is a little bit different. As you said, I try to avoid the grocery shopping on weekends.
Some great metaphors here! It’s great overall to be able to have the sugar every day, but when it’s not a treat anymore, it’s far less special.
I used to work shift work, 2 days, 2 night, 4 off… you didn’t really know what day of the week it was. Just working/not working so when you finally got a weekend off and went somewhere your first response was always “why aren’t these people at work?!?!” THEN you realize its the weekend and that’s why everything is a gong show for you! I also did 1 month on/1 off at a time… again you stop paying attention to what day of the week it is till you go out on a weekend and everyone else is doing the same thing.
I can only imagine how disorienting that must have been! And unhealthy too, I’d imagine? I’m glad you escaped that shift work! I literally never had a break from school or work ever, so it’s clear that I’m now having an experience that most people have had at some other point in life. I’m just late to the party on this, I guess! ;-)
If it weren’t for our child’s school schedule, I would completely lose track of what day of the week it is. And after dropping her off at school, I make a bee line for our neighborhood Trader Joe’s to do the day’s grocery shopping. It took a few months of retirement to get used to not pushing off everything until the weekend…
Yeah, I’m sure it’s a totally different thing with kids! But thank goodness you can get in and out of TJ’s without the madness, even if you have to abide by a Monday-Friday schedule for school purposes. :-)
My husband ran into this same thing when he became a stay-at-home dad. His biggest gripe now is that Tuesday mornings are the day the retirement home bus drops the senior citizens at the grocery store and it’s packed with old, slow folks so he has to time his grocery runs carefully. :-) The most amazing part is that by having one of us at home during the week, the errands get run during the “off-peak” hours and we can play all weekend when I’m home from work. It helps lessen the Sunday Blues.
Ha! If the retirement home bus schedule becomes our biggest gripe, I’d say we have a pretty sweet life. ;-) That sounds amazing, though, that your errands all get done off peak and you’re not trying to pack them into your limited weekend time. What an incredible gift!
I’m working six day weeks right now which makes my Sundays my only day of precious rest. I’ve been hitting the grocery store shortly after 7 so that I can get my shopping done and head home right after work. It feels a bit like a cheat code that the rest of the working world doesn’t know about, shopping that early on a Saturday. I even price matched guilt-free because there was no line to hold up!
What a great cheat code, indeed! I remember my old couponing days and how guilty I felt pushing back on coupons and prices because it held others up! ;-) Here’s hoping, though, that you won’t be working six days a week all that much longer. That sounds grueling!
Another post that I can relate to…..my parents who have been retired for 15 years often tell me that they easily forget what day of the week it is and even what is the date, since the days blend one into another. For myself, back in 2013, my organization had to take off six Fridays (not paid) due to budget issues at work. After a few weeks of non-stop complaints, I had a meeting where one of the topics was to see the advantages to having those days off – 3 day weekends. I stated how wonderful it would be to go shopping on a weekday and miss the Saturday crowds or be able to get your car serviced or go visit somewhere (within driving distance) and have a nice long weekend. I don’t think my co-workers were very enthused, but I did try to point out how to see some silver lining in the black cloud of not being paid. Good luck with your Saturdays vs Mondays shift.
Thank you! I honestly don’t know what we’d do without our phones. Can you imagine not all that long ago not having a way to confirm the day and date?! Like, sure, you can look at a calendar, but if you aren’t sure what yesterday was, how can you be sure what today is?! Hahaha.
And I’m a bit shocked that none of your coworkers saw the benefit of three-day weekends! But I guess maybe they weren’t as financially secure as you so had to see the financial side first and foremost?
My best friend has retired to a seaside town and she reports the same things happening. They don’t go out on the weekends and, now it’s summer, they notice the crowds, though I’m sure now that the school holidays have finished it’s a bit better. I think she and her husband are hanging out for the winter when the population apparently plummets.
Yeah, I do think the tourist town dynamic does make a big difference in how it feels to go out, though I’m sure everyone can relate to more crowded stores on the weekends. We’re lucky that we live in a place that’s beautiful most of the year, but the downside is we don’t have much of a slow season! ;-)
I secretly give myself a taste of what early retirement will be like by taking a mental health day off during the week (Monday -Thursday) periodically. I don’t plan much, I let the day just form. Doing this has opened my eyes to the lessons you’ve touched on and I cannot wait until I am literally starting my next life like you!!!
I fully support that. The modern work schedule is just so grueling, and sometimes we need a tiny break. I especially love that you don’t plan out the time and just see what speaks to you. We’ve been doing our best to do that most days so far, though I’ll confess that we’re still very much in the rest and detox phase, and much of what has appealed to us so far has been Netflix. Hahahaha. I have no doubt this will change very soon, though — especially if we get snow! :-)
We have experienced all the glory of being in town from Monday thru Friday and it’s pretty sweet. As several people have mentioned getting food, shopping and movies take on a whole level of ease compared to the weekends.
We are going out to the Kofa wilderness area at months end to see if we can get some photos of the local bighorn sheep population. The reason we picked the end of the month is mainly because the moon will be near full which makes for some very special nighttime photography. This happens to be on a Monday, Tuesday timeline.
When we worked full time most of our back country adventures were done on weekends so the timing was not always there for special moon shots. Just an example of how lucky we feel getting to do what we want when we desire.
My goodness, that sounds like a dream! Will you please share your best shots when you get back???? And I definitely felt this in a different form. Even though the lunar eclipse was visible for lots of folks, I could stay up all night and wait for it, despite it being a “school night,” and not worry about being exhausted at work the next day. And we’re definitely going to be chasing solar eclipses in the future without regard for what day of the week they happen to fall on.
After working full time Monday-Friday for so many years, I found this to be one of the biggest adjustments, mostly in a good way. After a year of retirement, I still marvel at how nice it is to do errands on weekdays when the roads and stores are so empty and calm. It’s also SO nice to do “personal business” phone calls like insurance and doctors without time constraints. I do a lot of those types of calls on behalf of my elderly parents, and it was frustrating to play telephone tag all day long while working. Another great thing is booking trips that start on a Monday (or Tuesday or any day we want). The down side, if there is one, is feeling disoriented about what day it is and the lack of structure. I am always consulting the calendar to remind myself about upcoming appointments and commitments, and find it difficult to picture the calendar in my head the way I used to because every week is different!
I can relate to every bit of this! It’s nice not to feel so stressed about having to do health insurance or medical calls. (Why is this such a feature of current life in the U.S.?!?!?! It’s not okay.) And the disorientation is no small thing. I think it’s actually a bit stressful to not have that calendar picture in my head anymore, and I find myself mentally holding on tighter to whatever commitments we have scheduled. I wonder if that will lessen as we get better at this??
I hear you! We’re not a big fan of weekends anymore either (such a privileged thing to say, know) due to all the reasons you mentioned–fighting crowds, more cars on the roads, etc. We have no idea which day it is any day of the week and we love it. It takes some adjustment at the beginning, but gets easier over time. Have you ever seen the movie “A Map for Saturday”? They describe this feeling of “everyday feeling like Sat” perfectly there.
Oh it’s totally a privileged thing to say, but we’re right there with you. ;-) And no — haven’t seen that movie. Will check it out!
Ahh, I experienced this during the holidays. I was lucky to have two weeks off of work. The weekends took me by surprise. In fact, I only knew it was the weekend because my husband wasn’t at work. :P
We’d experienced that on vacations before, too, but I will say it’s much more pronounced in retirement! ;-)
I used to hate Monday, but now I kinda love them. A case of the Mondays? Hell no, Monday is one of the best days of the week!
Now I try to do all my shopping mid-week because it’s sooo much faster than shopping on the weekend. FIRE just has so many advantages.
Ha! Exactly. What a great privilege it is to be able to run errands when most people are working.
I love the malleability of time concept because it allows us to step out of our daily routines and own more of our time. I can think of two situations where I have felt this way:
1) As mentioned previously, maternity leave! If you only have one baby at home, you can take him/her practically anywhere. Shopping, the library, the park… The downside is that you have to own the night waking and night feeding too.
2) I might be crazy here, but travel days also have the potential to morph between work and personal time in cool ways for me. I might decide to spontaneously go to lunch with a co-worker I don’t normally see, or go to a movie if I find myself with a free evening. Cross-country flights also have the potential for audiobooks, movies or reading that I don’t usually have time for in my at-home schedule.
I’d love to hear more about how you set up your schedule in ways that allow for some routine and predictability but don’t feel like a daily grind!
I definitely see that with maternity leave, and I’d imagine it’s even more time-trippy because of the weird sleep schedule (no sleep schedule?) you get into for the baby.
And I laughed at your #2, because cross-country flight days used to be my FAVORITE. I could actually read for fun sometimes and get a bunch of work done uninterrupted. It’s kind of sick how much I loved them, actually. ;-)
And on the schedule and routines Q, I’ll write about that soon — but we don’t yet have enough data to report back! ;-)
It’s been 9 months for us since FIRE. We’ve gone through the exact same thoughts over that time. I often now liken Mondays to those glorious first days of middle school summer vacation. It’s the best feeling every week. Full of anticipation and interrupted freedom. Congrats and enjoy!
Haha — I LOVE that you specified middle school summer vacation, because high school summer vacation is likely to be filled with camps and work and all the rest. Yes, I do think middle school summer vacation was the last time I felt anything like this! ;-)
Yup, I get similar feelings as a stay-at-home mom; if we did not have a few set things to anchor my days (church, 3-day-a-week preschool), I’d never know what day it is. Definitely hate errands and shopping on weekends too, so it’s nice to be able to go at off-peak hours. I do miss that Saturday magic, too! It is a trade-off though, since I no longer have that mounting sense of dread starting Sunday afternoon. And there’s still a trace of Saturday magic because my husband is off work and it makes everything run more smoothly. Love reading your journey!
Thank you for reading! :-D This is all so well said. Though I miss the Saturday magic, as you said, it’s a worthwhile trade-off, because you get so much in return for losing that Saturday magic (though I’m glad you still have a bit of it!).
Heavens, no, there will not be any grocery store or Costco visits on the weekends! That’s what Tuesday mornings are for ;) But you might just find a new appreciation for actual weekends because those are the days you’ll get to see your friends who are still stuck in the M-F 9-5 (or *-7) grind. And with all your newfound free time you miss these friends during the week. A lot.
Hahahahaha. (Also, Hi! Nice to see you!) Fortunately we don’t have a ton of M-F grind friends here in the ski town, but it is still an adjustment to remind ourselves that not everyone can hang out any night of the week like we can. So Mark made Saturday night plans at the volleyball gym, and I had to remind him, “That’s our only night to see most people!” Ha. We still have a lot to learn about all this. ;-)
Before I get to my comment, I will say that I appreciate that you are sharing your feelings going through this experience, not just the facts (be it time, or money, or observations)
But, my first reaction to the article was, somewhat surprisingly, pretty negative. Here goes: “So, the world does not revolve around you; and now, you’ve noticed.”
That sounds harsh, even to me, but it seems like you are surprised mainly because of the fact that you were previously in the majority (speaking in terms of the working world / time / days of the week) and now only notice because this doesn’t work to your convenience. While there are many dimensions to this dissonance, time is only one. It can also be a matter of culture, ethinicity, family status (e.g. kids)–many other factors, all of them probably deeper in impact, because they are lifelong, where this is…half-lifelong?
Again, I am not trying to be a troll, but add to the conversation by sharing my own raw reaction. To think on this a little more deeply: This was a surprise and you find it uncomfortable, But, isn’t it similar to the discomfort you found in your micro-room in Taiwan? Or, I am sure, any number of situations over there where your limited Chinese vocabulary directly limited your options. But that report was positive, because I expect, like me *you travel looking for differences.* So, with the same level of discomfort you might experience or actually seek out occasionally, you come away negatively because it is happening at home. I would challenge you to take this on like you take on your travel situations: the local culture is what it is; it’s your job to adjust, and if you can’t move on. They aren’t responsible for your happiness, you are. If it bugs you, there is only one person who will fix it.
If I might speculate further in the direction of a solution: why couldn’t Saturday hold a special or different place than the other days? Is it a bad thing to spend a day around the house, perhaps puttering around, or reading, or binge watching a show from when you were a kid, or meditating, or making a gourmet meal from scratch? The fact that you are sheltering in place from the horde is coincidental. Time is what you make of it, and if the world has steered you in the direction of this, *you still could make Saturday still be the most relaxing day of the week, on a relative basis.* It’s just that the activity is all good now, not necessarily bad, or out of your control.
So, while you have shared your raw reaction, and I have now shared mine, I think what I’m really interested in is: what are you going to do about it?
Hi Matt. I appreciate your note about wanting to add to the conversation, but my *raw reaction* is that you’ve done it in a pretty mean-spirited way. In case this is unclear, here are some facts: I’m a person. With feelings. Baring those feelings — for free — for the benefit of those considering a similar path. Deliberately hurtful comments like “you think the world revolves around you” make me not want to do this. It might help you to take a quick read through the other comments to see that lots of other people had this same experience, so if you reacted to it so negatively and not with empathy or at least curiosity, the problem might actually be you.
Mostly working remotely like I do, and with a kid away during the weekdays, this shift happened for me a couple years ago. Saturdays weren’t bliss anymore.
I don’t DISLIKE them, it’s when most people are likely to be free because they still live on that work week scheduled life and socializing happens then, but I don’t crave them like I do my next hit of comfort candy. Weekdays are when I get everything done – groceries, gas, errands, cooking, etc, so I look forward to that freedom and bit of rest on Mondays!
Of course, then I get grouchy when I’m produce shopping on Wednesday morning and the parking lot is full. Don’t you people have jobs?? ;D
Hahahaha — I know what you mean! Like if I occasionally had to dash to the store on a Wednesday afternoon and it was crowded, I’d feel so resentful! ;-) Working from home does make weekday errands more doable, but STILL. Those Saturdays had the magic, and now they don’t — but I wouldn’t trade back! ;-)
I’ve noticed the zombie apolcalypse effect when I’ve had the odd randomn week day off work and it’s what gave me the idea to flip the week around when we do give up the 9-5 grind. My husband and I plan to partially retire but do a little freelancing to bring in a small income, the weekend will become our time to work and we’ll make the most of everywhere being quiet Monday to Friday.
I love that plan! If you can get past the mental hurdle of “weekends are for play, not for work!” then you’ll do great with a reverse schedule like that.
My dad’s (who retired in his 40’s back in 2001) favorite line to this day is ‘every night is Friday and everyday is Saturday’. Pretty much sums up why retiring early is awesome. Don’t let that Saturday feeling slip away.
That’s a great line. ;-) We’re definitely holding on to that Saturday feeling… it just doesn’t happen on actual Saturday as much. Hahaha.
I do love (a little) when I’m in between gigs because I can get so much done with fewer folks in my way. Grocery shopping out of the crowd is everything! This is part of why I would like to transition to my own business full(ish) time. If I give myself a break in the middle of the day to do what I need, then I can be more efficient and happier. Control of my time is the biggest goal I have.
Amen sister! Though I have to believe that traditional jobs are going to be forced to get more flexible as telework becomes more of an expectation for folks. It would be nice if being able to shop outside of peak times wasn’t just a privilege the lucky few enjoy. And, honestly, if everyone could shop at different times, there wouldn’t even be peak crowds ever, and that would undoubtedly be great for everyone.
That would be amazing. Hopefully jobs can get on board with what is best for human life.
Let’s just decide to make it happen. ;-)
It is so, captain!
Yup, we still feel like you about weekends… 10 years into retirement! We avoid the shops, enjoy the peace and quiet at home… but oddly this year, so far, we’ve been going to lots of cultural things – concerts, mountain festivals – over a weekend, and the change has been delightful.
Wow, 10 years in and still avoiding places on the weekends! So curious to see how we evolve on this, though if they keep jacking up the price of ski passes, then we will only ever buy midweek passes anyway. ;-) So glad you’ve been doing more cultural things!
This is an interesting train of thought. Since I’m the only retired one in my family and have a kiddo in school and a partner who sometimes only works 3 weekdays (nurse schedule), my weekly rhythm hasn’t changed much and I haven’t felt that Saturday lame feeling. Shopping on the weekend sucks around here too so I always tried to get it done on weekdays previously. Our weekends seem to be either extra busy with activities or super relaxing but they’ve been like that for a long time. For me, I’ve most loved having lots of unscheduled time throughout my days to roll with things that may come up and be fun, like visiting with a friend on Tuesday for a couple of hours since she was taking some vacation days this week. Enjoy that unscheduled time… I think you’ll start to find some of that magic again!
Oh we definitely have the magic — it’s just spread out over multiple days instead of concentrated on Saturdays! ;-) It makes sense that the days wouldn’t feel so different for you given your family schedules, but I’m sure those unscheduled days feel wonderful for you as they do for us!
Storms on the horizon so hopefully you can get some powder magic this week, midweek!
It was a crappy little dusting with nothing but more high pressure in the forecast. >:-(
You guys must have been working really hard! I experienced this during long vacations or when I was a contractor working a part-time schedule. I expect that keeping track of a calendar may be harder for you these days–if you don’t have a point of reference it may be easy to forget what day it is or to keep track of appointments.
We WERE working hard! It’s fascinating to me that you experienced the disconnection from days of the week even when working part-time — I think that would be enough to keep me anchored to the days, but I supposed I’m not sure because I never did that. ;-) And we definitely have to make a point now of paying attention to the calendar so we don’t miss stuff!
WHHHAAT???!?! No more Saturdays?? We might have to start rethinking our whole identity! :( Lol. No, but in all seriousness, I know you mean. The weekends are definitely crowded and actually doing fun stuff on Mondays would be cool to us! (especially if we had it all to ourselves) For us, craving more “Saturdays” doesn’t actually represent the actual day of the week. It’s just the magical idea that Saturday represents in our minds. Truthfully, two other days of the week are actually MORE fun for us since we look forward to our salsa dancing SOOO much! It’ll be nice when we have your problem though! Just trading out our current problems for better problems. ;-)
I know! You might need to, indeed! ;-) But you’re right — you can just transpose the idea of Saturday onto other days once you have more time on your hands. Still a very worthy goal! :-)