A month ago I was still employed in the traditional sense. My alarm went off religiously, as it does for most, and I would force willpower as a result: “Okay, sit up. Barely, but good enough. Okay, now swing those legs around and touch the floor.” It was the daily dance of I don’t wanna!, and 99% of the world danced alongside me.
But what is it about Mondays specifically that we all detest so much? Here are a few of my [warped and cynical] views on the subject…
Theory 1: Relativity
There’s a concept in hypnosis called time distortion. It’s why Monday morning traffic meetings seem to last forever while episodes of Better Off Ted are over before the kettle has boiled. When times are enjoyable, we are the carefree embodiments of life moment-to-moment. When we think back on enjoyable experiences, they are usually more abstract and less founded in the physical world than accurate recordings of a sequence of events. Conversely, when life is boring, we drudge through every sequence and action as another tedious chore to ultimately reunite us with a time when life can be carefree and fleeting again. As time is subjective, the ratio of a working week to that of a work-free weekend can seem less like 5:2 and more like 9:1. If the world is indeed run by incentives (read: Freakonomics), there really isn’t much left for the person hoping his weekend will motivate his work week, is there?
Theory 2: Object Permanence
Object permanence, as described by Wikipedia, is “the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed.” A relatable explanation of this concept is the game peek-a-boo, where babies have yet to develop this trait. As Mommy disappears behind her hands, the innocent, mush-like mind of the baby cannot comprehend that she is still there. It’s also the reason, at the developed end of the spectrum, why the death of a significant figure in one’s life often encourages a surreal feeling that attempts to convince one it’s all a dream – that it’s not real. We as humans have an ingrained evolutionary issue with letting go.
Much in the same way, I theorise that we view “the weekend” as too real and tangible a thing. Instead of living in the moment, we give so much meaning and emphasis to it in our lives (TGIF, right?), that when Mondays roll around, it’s literally as if we have lost something. Something very dear to us. Something we refuse to let go of – which may not be that crazy when we consider that what we are all ultimately longing for is…
Theory 3: Freedom
The term “freedom” has been bastardised. We live in a world today where we are prisoners in almost every conceivable way. We are slaves to debt, to the clock, societal expectations, even our own human nature. We live in a place and time where grinding for hours upon days upon years is the only acceptable means by which we secure the resources (read: money) to enable us to do all the wonderful things life promised us was available. The irony being that this method of resource acquisition often leaves the expectant with no time to enjoy their fruits, or barely enough fruit to feed their self, let alone live lavishly.
There’s a song in the movie Team America (F#@K YEAH!) with the line “freedom isn’t free – it costs folks like you and me.” The world, as it is, is a giant grinding machine currently serving only one higher purpose: The acquisition and conversion of space and natural resources into properties and money (read: capitalism). In a world operating this way, it’s easy to understand how the subjective importance of, “This is MY life, you sonofabitch!” is a low-flying second to the global agenda of “MINE! MINE! MINE!”
Monday, in this regard, can be seen as the official symbol of this ideal. It is the badge of those who while their lives away, serving a system that has no intention of serving them in return. If work were a date, it would be the gorgeous blonde bombshell everyone wishes to thoroughly doink, yet only gives limp-wristed tugs to any not actually on the rugby team. And the team mascot? Well, he’s taking care of himself tonight because…
Theory 4: Passion Don’t Pay the Rent
As I served my tour in the college trenches, I became acquainted with several individuals who had changed their major at least once. One individual I met was, at the time, on his fourth degree track, having failed to complete a single one before. We are creatures of passion, and to deny this fact is to deny ourselves.
I remember hoping as a child to grow up that I could finally understand this complicated system we call “life”. It took me actually growing up to realise that nobody has the answer. I think the problem we face, then, is that the world wears a mask of certainty. I felt lost, and that if I just had some direction the world would make sense and I would be happy.
The only problem with this idea, however, is the concept of “right”. As in, “what’s right for you?” You see, while I completed the courses I attended and received my due credentials, that four-degree flopper and I had something in common – we were both just doing what was expected of us. There is a traditional model of accepted living: Go to school, mind your manners, eat your vegetables, go to college, get your piece of paper, get a job, work your ass off to ensure a liveable retirement, reproduce at some point, die.
We are taught that assimilating into the system is the only noble way to get by in this world. That to be worth anything, one must pay their dues and endure hardship as all others before have had to do. This method of thinking, ironically, is taught by the system controlled by the people who create and perpetuate it.
I think the main reason why most people hate Mondays is not because getting up early is a chore, or because traffic is a bitch. I believe it’s because every time that stupid alarm sounds off, you are reminded that there’s another long-ass day ahead of not doing what you were put on this earth to do.
A line from a track I wrote, titled Freedom of Speech, reads:
“Unhinged, I cringe at the thought of all the talent dying at the grocery store.”
Everyone has their gift, and it saddens me that most people either do not know theirs, or have no viable method for utilising it in a practical or sustainable way. We scramble to do what our parents or television said is best for us, overlooking the fact that nobody will know the answer to that question better than we will. It’s only through introspection and being honest with ourselves that we can truly know what will make us happy. Yet we have developed this idea that the world is supposed to tell us what the answer should be. In that case, “a case of the Mondays” is nothing more than your very core – that beautiful artist’s heart and soul – fighting against the superficial lies you were told as to what’s truly important in this seemingly meaningless life.
Do you dare listen? Or is it time to get back to work?