I’ve always loved Mondays.
To my way of thinking, Monday represents a chance to reset and get it right, to be better than I was the previous week. Sometimes weekends are just as jam-packed with activities as the week is, and sometimes (like this past one) it’s an opportunity to unwind and decompress. In either case, Monday is an opportunity to begin fresh.
Psychologists tell us that it isn’t healthy, but I suspect part of the reason I so enjoy Mondays is that I’ve always been the type of person who’s personal identity and self-worth is inextricably link to what I do for a living. I physically spend nine hours at the office (more or less) every day of the week, and I’ve been accessible 24/7 for as long as I’ve owned a cell phone. Some of my “off-duty” activities tie directly back to my job, as well – going back to school to complete my bachelor’s degree, for example, is tied to my desire to continually grow and improve within the company.
Pick up any calendar and you’ll see the week is supposed to start on Sunday. This practice dates back thousands of years – ancient Egyptians wanted to honor Ra, the sun god, by designating the first day of their newly-created seven-day week as Sun’s day. This was passed on the the Romans, who designated the first day as dies solis. For many Christians, this continued tradition is based on the Bible, which notes that God said, “Let there be light!” on the first day of creation.
(I realize that I’m leaving out quite a few cultures – Slavs and the Chinese to name two – that actually start their weeks on Sunday. In many of those instances, their “Sunday” is not named after any sort of sun deity, and is in fact called something different. In Hungary, for example, their Sunday is actually called “market day,” and in Old Russian it is often referred to as “free day.”)
According to ISO 8601, which describes the internationally accepted method for discussing dates and times, Monday is the first day of the week. The United States, Canada, and Japan all consider it to be the second day of the week. (For more on this fascinating subject, visit here: https://www.iso.org/iso-8601-date-and-time-format.html)
This may be my recently-discovered patrimonio mexicaño showing itself, but my week has always started on Monday, for as long as I can remember. I consider the weekend to be a set of two days, inseparable and meant to be experienced as one experience, like chapters six and seven in a book. Others view it as something more akin to bookends, with Sunday on one end and Saturday on the other, to be experienced as two separate entities.
Psychologically, most everything I do on Saturday would fall into the category of “unwinding” for the previous week, while everything I do on Sunday (laundry, for example) is in preparation for the upcoming week. I’ve always made this mental separation of the two days – Saturday for relaxing, Sunday for preparation.
My view of Monday certainly goes against what popular culture would have you believe about this day of the week – a list of popular song titles makes this very evident. Blue Monday, Manic Monday, Stormy Monday, I Don’t Like Mondays, Rainy Days and Mondays – this list seems endless. I’m not really sure where all of this animosity towards the first day of the week comes from, but I suspect many of these songwriters were in denial about what a productive day Monday can be if you just put your mind to it.
I’m writing this early on a Sunday morning, and as I type I’m mentally preparing for everything I need to accomplish today in order to be prepared for the new week starting tomorrow. I’ve sorted the laundry, decided which shirts I need to iron for work next week, verified which rooms on campus my two new classes are in, and checked emails to make sure there are no outstanding tasks that need to be completed before the week begins tomorrow. In the words of the great yellow poet, SpongeBob SquarePants, “I’m ready, I’m ready!”
I’m excited for the new beginning that this Monday will bring – are you?
What I’ve Learned
I’ve learned more than I could ever want to know about why Sunday actually isn’t the first day of the week, despite what your calendar is trying to tell you.