Living away from home for a few years now, first studying, and now working in the capital city, has meant that household routines have become a lot different than they used to be.
I’m fortunate enough to live with friends. However, living with friends who all work different jobs, different hours, in different parts of the city, means a quiet house is rare and having some downtime can prove difficult, particularly if it’s the quiet kind you’re looking for, or the kind that’s catching up with housemates and friends. During the week, my housemates and I mostly see each other in the kitchen on early mornings grabbing a quick coffee before heading out for the bus for work, or at night before bed as we come in from working late on different projects. We rarely have dinner together as there’s always someone running in or out the front door. Catching up on each other’s daily news is usually done through quick late-night chats, hurried text messages, or through hearing stories from one of the other girls in the house. The weekend always seems like the perfect time to catch up.
However, being in a house with three other girls doesn’t mean the busy week lulls by Friday evening. The weekend has come around and the milk has been left out on the counter over night, replaced in the tiny refrigerator by a bottle of wine. That’s if someone has remembered to buy milk in the first place. Sharing a house means sharing almost everything, not just the basic kitchen appliances and allocated shower times. If you’re the only one with the full-length mirror in the house and it’s a Friday or Saturday night, be prepared for your mirror to become a free-for-all, even if you’re hoping to have a quiet night in.
In everyone’s minds, weekends are a chance to relax. But my idea of downtime could be a lot different to my friends, and it can often change depending on how the week has been. One week, heading out for some dancing on a Friday or Saturday night can seem like the perfect plan, and other weeks all I might want is a cosy sofa and a good movie. Just like during the week, our busy house is a hub of activity as everyone has a different plan for the weekend and for their own way of relaxing. Last Friday and Saturday were no different. Some of us were out and about on Friday night, and the rest of us were out and about on Saturday night. I spent the day Saturday catching up on work, doing the laundry and going for a walk, while the girls in the house all busily spent their Saturdays in different ways.
There’s one day in the week we always manage to find ourselves together on though and that’s Sundays. Not for any particular reason, other than we all seem to be home on a Sunday. I noticed it this pattern this week because I was the only one not home on Sunday. I missed the one chance the girls and I normally get to catch up, to have a proper chat about what’s been happening in the past week, and to have a bit of a rant or a moan about things that might have been getting to us. I didn’t get to chat to them and I actually missed it.
I realised that catching up with the girls on a Sunday is almost like my self-care and having mentioned it to them, they also agreed that they find themselves looking forward to cups of tea and coffee together in our pyjamas on a Sunday morning. When the weeks are busy with work or there have been arguments in the house over dirty dishes and no hot water for showers, it can be nice to have a chance to stop and reflect on everything with good friends. It reminds me of Sundays back at home where the whole family would be together yet nobody would be up to anything much. There’d always be a lovely Sunday dinner to look forward to too, where everyone would help out and have a laugh over setting the table.
Last Sunday, while I missed my chance to catch up with the girls, I did have a chance to catch up with some other friends over a relaxed dinner. Everyone seems to take time out on a Sunday. Friday nights and Saturdays get lost to busy social lives more and more, which is all part of the fun of living in the city. Sometimes we say to ourselves ‘’there aren’t enough days in the week’’ but I’m not sure if that’s enough days to do work, or enough days in the weekend. Whatever we’ve been up to in our house, and in many houses both in the city and back home, there’s always Sunday, and I never realised what an important day it could be.
My weeks are still pretty busy, and Friday and Saturday nights will still be about dressing up and dancing, but I find myself looking forward to Sundays already. Once a day that perhaps was reserved to visiting grandparents, it’s now a day I think that we can all use to reconnect with housemates, friends or family, to catch up, to relax. I’m not religious by any means, I just see Sunday as the last chance to take a breather before another busy week starts again!
So with the girls I live with, we’ve decided to have Sunday dinners as a house-sharing ‘family’ as much as possible. This week two of us are going to make a roast chicken dinner and fruit salads for dessert. All the cooking might seem like hard work but sitting down to a delicious, healthy, homemade meal together with friends sounds like a great way to spend an afternoon to me. Someone will always have the task of making sure there’s milk in the fridge, not on the counter, for tea and coffee for chatting afterwards too. Needless to say none of us will use Sunday afternoons to catch up on work anymore, but chatting with the girls is definitely worth it, and the gossip is always better than any magazine you could buy.
What do you spend your Sundays doing? Do you have a chance to relax and take a break, or is there another day of the week you like doing this on? Take one day of the seven for you!
Assistant Psychologist at Change Panda