Workdays and Weekends

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (1558), by Pieter Bruegel de Oude.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (1558), by Pieter Bruegel de Oude.

In the minds of most people, day-to-day life has two main divisions: workdays and weekends. In fact, the workday is more or less defined by way of contrast. Workdays are the price one pays for time off—weekends, holidays, vacations. A workday is something gray, monotonous, exhausting. The less work one can do (without losing money), the better; the less effort one has to put into it, the better. A jaded, half-dead, really depressing outlook, yet one with which many of us are all too familiar. What has ruined the reputation of the workday is not so much the work itself as it is the boredom associated with relentless uniformity, regularity, and repetitiveness. But for most people, most days in their lives are going to be workdays of this type, and so this daily toil is worth a closer look. For as many people have already discovered the hard way, a quasi-metaphysical hostility towards workdays will end up ruining not only that large percentage of one’s total time on earth, but also one’s capacity for enjoying time off. One is either satisfied in the workday and able to find the meaning of existence in it, or one is satisfied in nothing and with nothing, and unable to find meaning in anything.

Peter Berglar, Opus Dei: Life and Work of its Founder Josemaría Escrivá


I recently had a long conversation with my brother, the longest conversation I’d had with him in years, about precisely this being satisfied in nothing and with nothing. But it is in good work well done, in which we lose track of time, when we forget that we are alive, “when we are borne about, captive of a singular love,” that we reach the summit of life.


About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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