By Kahini Iyer Sep. 23, 2019
After an entire week in a cramped office, weekends are the rare and sacred times when we begin to live out our dreams. But in trying to eke out every last drop of entertainment from those two days, we’re forgetting how to have spontaneous fun.
The three words that govern the life of every young person today are not “I love you” or even “Let’s order food”, but “Seize the day”. Carpe Diem. YOLO. Call it what you like, but in a world full of fresh experiences waiting to be had and new horizons to explore, making the most of your time is imperative. But does that mean we have to annoyingly micromanage every second that we spend outside the house?
Last weekend, I found myself in the middle of a party that had a colour-themed dress code, a mandatory hashtag for all social media posts, what could only be described as a strict time-table for drinking games. I’d gone to a classmate’s bachelorette, expecting to have a good time. But what started innocently enough as a call to celebrate an important life event, devolved into a nightmare of the kind where WhatsApp group notifications ring ceaselessly and even something as simple as ordering a cake takes a 20-person consensus. Halfway through the night, I could spot people fiddling with their phones, already trapped in the loop of planning yet another “fun” night.
In a nutshell, it was a weekend that had no chill.
What I’d rather like to do instead of being stuck indoors, wondering which show to watch next, is to just step out. Hop into my Toyota Glanza and drive around town with the wind blowing in my hair. I can understand the motivation to make each and every spare moment count on the weekend. But your Saturdays and Sundays are all going to look the same if you don’t channel that little adventurer inside you. Be impulsive, go for your long drives, soak in the sun.
Look, I’m 26. I can understand the motivation to make each and every spare moment count on the weekend. After all, we spend the majority of our waking hours in a cramped office that is either too hot or too cold, stuck under terrible lighting with a bunch of people we can barely tolerate, daydreaming about a less stressful life. Weekends, then, are the most rare and sacred of times. That’s when YOLO goes from being just a hashtag on your selfie to a real experience, when we begin to live out our dreams. And these experiences won’t come by sitting in front of your laptop.
After the five-day whirlwind of deadlines, meetings, and fantasies of setting your boss on fire, these precious 36 hours of freedom are pretty much the only respite we have. For a few moments, we can push the constant capitalist grind to the back of our minds, and just… chill.
When it comes to planning leisure time, nobody wants to be given more homework than a final-year medical student. So even if your goal is to party straight from Friday night to Monday morning, attempting to impose any sort of rules to the process is going to annoy me to no end. Every friend group has a person like this, and the bad news is if you think your group doesn’t, you’re the downer. And a downer is someone who doesn’t know how to let it all go. They thrive on knowing what comes next, and are determined to tick off every box on their “Having Fun” checklist. When you tell them that you’d prefer not to aggressively schedule every brunch a month in advance, or that you’d rather drive out of the city to catch a sunset over a lake instead of going for a Saturday morning yoga class, you are thwarting their best-laid plans.
Your leisure time should belong to you, not to some calendar notification or social obligation.
Basically, you can identify these sad souls because the phrases “read the room”, “go with the flow”, and “kindly adjust” don’t exist in their vocabulary. Like Russell Crowe in Gladiator, they are perennially insecure about whether or not the entertainment is up to scratch. And yet, despite their best and most gruelling efforts, the try-hards will never have as good a time as the rest of us, because the art of chilling is lost on them.
Perhaps it’s time somebody broke the news to these calendar-checking maniacs that the art of chilling is more than stuffing your few days off with grandiose plans. Sometimes, it’s all about being spontaneous, seizing the day, and not getting caught up in the complicated stuff. It’s about hopping into a car with your friends, and driving without a destination in mind. It’s about resetting your life’s playlist to shuffle, and enjoying the present, whatever it may entail.
In their infinite quest to be their Best Selves, or have the Night of Their Lives, the pedantic planners have missed the simple pleasures of a conversation with friends, a surprisingly tasty meal, a carefree afternoon that leads to the start of an unexpected journey. Above all, they’ve forgotten that life is stressful, so the weekend doesn’t have to be.
Your leisure time should belong to you, not to some calendar notification or social obligation. Let the world in, and you will be able to experience it in all its glory. But you have to remember, if you want to seize the day, you’re going to need to have your hands free.
Kahini spends an embarrassing amount of time eating Chinese food and watching Netflix. For proof that she is living her #bestlife, follow her on Instagram @kahinii.