I don’t like Mondays

When the famous song by the Boomtown Rats came out in 1979 everyone sympathised and we sang it with all our hearts “Tell me why, I don’t like Mondays…I want to shoot…the whole day down!”. It’s a general feeling – even on the radio, on Monday mornings the presenters will wish us courage to face the day and the week that will follow…

But if Mondays are the harsh truth of another week, then Sunday afternoons are the most nostalgic hours you can live through. It’s not the whole day: Sunday morning still feels like weekend, but after lunch you feel Monday approaching inexorably and a foul mood installs itself.

We all have our routines but more or less this feeling is universal. I spend many weekends in my beach apartment, even in winter, and when days are short I try to leave before dusk as I hate driving back to Lisbon after dark. When it’s raining I really get depressed as the last thing I want to do is to drive back home under the rain. In summer it’s different and, as we go to the beach, we somehow extend the afternoon. Still, the relaxing feeling you have on a Saturday at the beach is not there on a Sunday, as you know you’ll have to leave earlier to get things ready to go back to the city.

On some winter weekends I stay in Lisbon. Usually I have the boys with me and they have rugby matches, so I go and see them play. If it’s sunny, even if cold – something we didn’t experience last winter, as it was never cold but almost always rainy! – it’s quite pleasant to be outdoors and get some sun. I’ll be watching the game with all the rugby Moms and Dads and talking about our children’s feats. I’ll also make the most of the fact of being in Lisbon and have coffee with a friend, go to a movie, go and spend some time with Mom…but this I’ll try to do on Saturdays, as my favourite Winter plan for a Sunday afternoon is to stay at home and look outside and feel happy that I’m in my cocoon and don’t have to go out at all…

My favourite Sunday afternoons are those before a public holiday… we all agree Monday is the best day for a public holiday. If in the summer you can linger on the beach thinking you still have the day after and if it’s wintertime you can look forward to another cocooning day…

I remember times when I looked forward to Mondays, though. When I was at school and most of the excitement was found there, as I was not allowed to go out with my friends on weekends. At the beginning of my career when everything was new and promising, and even years later, as I was beginning a new and exciting project. But now, more and more, I enjoy those quiet moments when I can decide what I want to do with my time: reading, writing, sipping coffee at a café terrace while I read the newspaper, going for a walk along the beach or sharing a delicious dinner with my friends, these are moments that I relish. That’s why we don’t like Sunday afternoons, because they bring us the nostalgia of those magical moments when you are really yourself and time is your friend, not the enemy you will be battling with every day of the week.

Is it that I am getting old? I suppose so. With age comes wisdom and you learn to value even the smallest pleasures in life. Such as feeling the sea breeze on your hair and the sun on your skin; such as coming home after the beach and having a shower and having a cold drink and preparing for dinner…and this I cannot do today, because it’s Sunday. As I write down these words I look at my watch – I have to get going. It’s a summer Sunday afternoon and I have to get back to Lisbon. To the tons of things that await me this week, loads of work, travels, appointments, rushing from one thing to another…I love being active but sometimes I wish I could slow down a bit. Especially in summer when the beach – that I love so much – beckons…

Time to go. I pick up the bags and put them in the car. As I drive away many people, like me, are going back home after a nice weekend full of sun. As I look at the faces of the other drivers I know we are all thinking the same: “Tell me why, I don’t like Mondays…”.

Tomorrow the feelings of nostalgia and the song will be forgotten as we get into the crazy week routine. After all, there are many interesting things to be done, and it’s great to be active. Great things also happen during the week, of course. And then, when we get to the end of the week, there is that old sentence from a movie, I think, back in the eighties, that said “Thank God it’s Friday”. For Fridays, we all love.

Going back – first safari


My island

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