Mondays. The most dreaded day of the week for many… but for me, it’s a Sunday. Yep. I work Tuesdays – Saturdays, so my weekends are Sundays and Mondays.
And say what you will about having Mondays off – it is not all it is cracked up to be. Sure you can take care of things you can’t normally on a weekend, but trust me: sacrificing part of your “weekend” doing things others get to do during the work week ain’t all that grand. And even if you don’t mind doctor’s appointments, or trips to the bank, or getting your taxes done on a weekend, there is only so much or so many of those errands you have to do.
Yeah – after 3 Mondays taking care of that kind of business, you’re done. Doctors have been seen, checks have been cashed, taxes have been filed. And now you realize no one else has Mondays off… so you’re on the fast track to Boredom Territory. That, or you’re headed towards binge-watching every TV show currently streaming on Netflix.
Of course, a weekend of Sunday and Monday has its advantages too. You can take care of that depressing to-do list everyone else has to take time off work for. And if you’re a loner, such as myself, there are many a Monday where all I want is me, a good book, a hot cup of coffee, some smooth jazz playing on Pandora, my dog, and my couch. Hard to fit that piece of heaven in on a Saturday or Sunday.
So it’s a love-hate relationship, and I will admit that it has taken me a long time to get to that love-hate balance. I used to hate having Mondays off. I loathed it. Despised it with a passion rivaling Romeo’s for Juliet. Not only do I hate taking care of business on Mondays (when did I get old, eh?!?!?) but I also hated missing out on Saturdays.
Because everything happens on Saturdays. Classes, workshops, programs, activities, time out with friends. I’ve been lucky that my friends have been accommodating and try to plan social gatherings around my wonky schedule, but they can’t control the timing of a yoga class on the beach, or a crafting workshop, or a street festival. And I can’t ask them not to go because I can’t…
Nope – I can just stew.
But here’s the thing: I love my job. And I love my job more than I hate a Sunday / Monday weekend, so it has taken me a few years, but I have come to accept my less-than-desirous work schedule.
Of course, a big, giant, huge, enormous, gigantic, momentous part of that acceptance comes from volunteering. About a year ago, I decided to make my Mondays count. No more sitting at home and binge-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (okay; I have done more with my Mondays than TV marathons. I have used them as opportunities to do things J didn’t have any interest in. And when I was taking classes a few years back in pursuit of a professional certificate, Mondays were great homework days). I was going to get out there. I was going to do something. I was going to volunteer.
That’s when I started at 826LA. And, with some exceptions, I have gone in to tutor every Monday since last April. Volunteering as an elementary school tutor has been an experience that words really cannot describe. It is challenging, sure – a test of fortitude, perseverance, and patience; all virtues I do not possess – but the rewards are limitless. Bright, intelligent, fun kids who are capable of so much blossom right in front of me. And because I am in the tutoring center once a week (if not more on occasions I can swing it), I see the blossoming happening, and I feel like I really am a part of it.
And then there is Kitten Rescue. I started volunteering with them this past October, and I have been going in to help kitties every Thursday after I get off work. And then a few weeks ago, I went in on a Monday morning. I had arranged to meet with the sanctuary’s manager to discuss helping her with some office work, but lo and behold: they don’t have any volunteer help on Mondays (as compared to Thursday evenings, where there are always between 3 and 5 volunteers on site).
Ding! Ding! Ding!
The past few Mondays, then, have been Kitten Rescue for a few hours in the morning, home for lunch and a shower – scrubbing litter boxes and snuggling with a bunch of cats can make one quite unpleasant to be around – and then off to 826LA in the afternoon.
Now, I’m not going to go all Mother Theresa here. I have come home from two and a half hours of cleaning litter boxes, and a nap on my couch has been more appealing than hauling my behind down to 826LA. But I start thinking about the kids. And how much I know my being there helps them, and 826LA staff, and I find the motivation.
Just like thinking about some of my favorite cats at Kitten Rescue – the lovably affectionate Darcy, the sweet princess Lulu, the precious and adorable Genesis, the charming newbie Augustus, the quiet attention-seeking Mugsy, the loud attention-seeking Pinky – gives me the motivation to get off my lazy bum on Monday mornings and head in for (truly) down and dirty labor.
Added benefits? Physical exhaustion from litter box scrubbing and mental exhaustion from trying to sort out adding and multiplying fractions (for the love of Persephone, did we really have math problems this hard when we were in 4th grade??), means I sleep better on Monday nights than I do any other night during the week.
And once or twice, I have thought about the possibility of my work schedule changing. Not that I am planning on a new job, and not that there is an impending change of my work days in my current one, but if I were to go back to a Monday – Friday schedule… what I have wanted for so many years now… that would mean giving up these Volunteer Mondays.
Not feeling that. So, I guess you could say I have found a love-love balance with my wonky work schedule. Who knew?