This Monday's post going to be a bit weird. Monday's been traditionally associated with work and melancholy, two words that aren't usually next to each other in my mind. In fact, a while ago, I looked for a joyful GIF of Monday motivation to send to a friend and got nothing. I feel like Mondays bring again the flavor of normalcy that Sundays' triteness seemed to make us forget. However, due to a rather diligent weekend, my checklist has got to the bottom and there isn't anything urgent to work on, so I decided to take a day off on this Monday, because, well, why not?
I've been trying to practice this relaxation thing my therapist insists on so much for weeks already, but it's been failure after failure. It seems not to work without any setup, which, according to her, is not how ordinary people do it, and it just defeats the purpose of relaxing. I find it hard to believe that people just get home and relax, like it's just something natural to them. I remember being a kid and getting home straight to my notebooks, my homework, or, if everything has been dealth with previously, to my videogames. Reading, watching TV, or calling a friend over the phone (it used to be a thing in the 90s) was usually done late in the night, when I was already fed, showered, and dressed to bed. Sure, my siblings would procrastinate a lot of their work, but they were lazy, they were not the norm. My brother would complain after reading five pages of a fiction book. FIVE. PAGES. If I was to stop reading after just five pages, I wouldn't even give myself the trouble of opening it.
I have bought for my Kobo (a Canadian Kindle copycat) a bunch of fantastic books to read while relaxing:
- Animal Farm, by one of my favorite authors of all time (George Orwell), it's a beautifully written satire of 20th century socialism. It is a short book, if anything, but that's part of the package that makes it so amazing;
- Tales of Mystery of Imagination, by Edgar Allan Poe, a nice compilation of some of his best tales. I plan on introducing my English students into literature and I find it hard to get a better author for them than Poe;
- Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges, my favorite contemporary author in Spanish, is a compilation along the lines of the Poe one. I plan on doing the same to my Spanish students and Jorge Luis Borges has the advantage of having written not only great Spanish tales, but also great universal tales, that I'd love to read regardless of the language;
- O Cortiço, by Aluísio de Azevedo, is a nineteenth Brazilian novel that has influenced Brazilian culture intensely since then. A must read for everyone interested in understanding this country's idiossincrasies.
Now, it is obvious that I have read at least a decent amount of all these books, and have enjoyed doing so. However, picking them up and reading them simply doesn't work. I get hit by a wave of boredom whenever I try to read them without doing anything else. I have slept on Orwell a few times already (oh, the heresy!) despite loving the book. I can easily read them while commuting, or running, but it seems impossible to do so while relaxing.
The most obvious alternative would be watching TV shows. I've picked up two to boot:
- 13 Reasons Why, the most recent Netflix hit, is about a student who suicided to get revenge against her classmates. It is intense, although a bit juvenile;
- Mr. Robot, about a software engineer struggling to make a difference in a world that seems not to care, and to keep himself lucid and healthy in a world that actively seeks to be sick and high. Needless to say, I identify a lot with the character, but, luckily, I don't have his hacking skills to make the same mistakes.
Both were decent options, but, again, watching them while relaxing triggers my ADHD. The urge to pick up my phone and browse the web hits me harder every time, but she said it defeats the purpose. I'm beginning to believe the purpose needs to practice a little harder, because it's being defeated way too often. sigh
Today, however, I had my mind set on achieving relaxation at all costs. No phone, no internet, no work, no study, nothing. I would just lay in my bedroom and relax, and nothing or no one would be able to stop me.
Of course, it didn't work. I did sleep a lot, though, but it defeats the purpose again. I feel blissful and cozy, which might just be how relaxed people feel most of the time, so I'll take it as progress and call it a day. A bit anticlimatic, I know, but perhaps Mondays were just not made for this. The GIFs were right all along.