What are Weekends for?

Not everyone works “nine-to-five,” but many people work Monday to Friday. After that, they have two glorious days of freedom to rest and recover, before heading back to the grind. On a few fortunate occasions, the  weekend is followed by a holiday Monday, creating a three-day weekend. Of course, you already know what a weekend is, but how do you think of your weekend?

I know that some people use their weekend to catch up on housework and yard work, then use the rest of their time to nap or watch TV or otherwise unwind. Other people are more ambitious, and use weekends to travel, play sports or engage in any other of their hobbies.  Granted, some particularly busy people likely feel they barely have time to keep up with all their responsibilities.

It occurs to me that the end of the workday on Friday is like a mini-retirement from the workweek. After working hard for five days, there are two glorious days in which you are free to do whatever you choose. How you choose to spend your time says much about you, and you’ll likely make similar choices in retirement. Do you want to stay busy, feeling a sense of accomplishment at each project completed? I think many people feel this way about improving their house and yard. Do you want to create memories? Some people see value in spending their time with friends an family, socializing, partying or just being together. Do you want to continue learning? Many people feel that travel allows them to learn about the people and places they visit. There’s no reason that travel needs to be international, and many of us have access to interesting places to visit right near home.

A couple weeks ago, as part of a university course, a professor gave me the assignment of walking for 45 minutes downtown with a camera. We were asked to take 10 photos every 5 minutes (for a total of 90) and come up with some interesting views of urban objects and locations. My wife and I picked our kids up from school, took them for a snack and brought them on the walk. It was an experience that we all really enjoyed, but it was something that I wouldn’t have made time for, if it weren’t assigned. I love to travel and visit urban centres, but downtown Calgary (where we live) seemed too familiar or too close to home to be interesting, until we were actually there.

It seems to me that evenings and weekends can be great practice for retirement. What activities do you really enjoy, and how can you do them on a small scale? What makes you happy, and can you fit that regularly into your week? Once you can answer these questions, it seems fairly certain that you won’t be bored in retirement. Step two, of course, is making sure you have adequate financial resources so that you don’t end up working as a cashier at WalMart and being happy on evenings and weekends into the sunset of life.

What do you do on weekends? How do you make the most of your time away from work?

12 thoughts on “What are Weekends for?”

  1. I will probably end us a greeter at Walmart when I am older because I won’t be able to keep up with the physical demands of my current job and I won’t have enough money saved for retirement.

    My social life is suffering now because I work every other weekend and it is hard to find people to hang out with on my Wednesday off.

    I will have to work on developing a larger friend base because 2 of my friends won’t be living in the area when their husbands retire. 1 will be heading far north to a cottage and the other to a condo in Toronto to use as a base for their world travels. I will still see them but infrequently.

    Adding friends is one of the steps in my retirement plan.

  2. I’m one of those people who needs to be doing something productive 90% of the time. (Though my version of productive may be different then others.) But mostly weekends are about spending time with family.

  3. “How you choose to spend your time [at the weekend] says much about you, and you’ll likely make similar choices in retirement”

    What a great observation

    It’s hard to imagine being bored when you get your life back either at weekends or after retirement, but do you really have enough going on to cope with every day being a weekend? I’ve posted on this topic, I hope you don’t mind me offering a link… https://financialfreedomuk.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/wont-you-be-bored-what-will-you-do-with-all-that-spare-time/


  4. I don’t work the normal 9-5 Mon-Fri job so my days are all over the shop. When I’m not at work, I spend time with the wife and family, blog, renovate, garden..and travelling is always on the radar especially in our retirement years. I do all the things that I value in my life because, you only live once! Cheers

  5. “How you choose to spend your time [at the weekend] says much about you, and you’ll likely make similar choices in retirement”

    The above statement says alot about your current position in life. You assume that people have this thing called ‘weekends’ as a defined block away from work where one can do what one enjoys. As the study out today on precarious work shows, this is increasingly a priviledge (even for the so-called middle class). As one person put it – I used to have evenings and weekends to go with a decent and decently paid FT postion. Then they ‘rewarded’ me with a Berry. Now I’m tied 24/7 with no weekends for the same pay.

    For some of us, the desire to truly get evenings and weekends back is why we’re on the ER track.

  6. My father loves his work. He goes into work very early in the morning, comes home for dinner in the evening, then goes back into work. I’ve asked him before what his ideal retirement looks like, and you won’t be surprised that he can’t imagine stopping work and giving up going into the office.

    I say BlackBerries are a choice. They have an off switch. I know it’s not easy to change jobs, but that’s also an option. We won’t magically become different people at age 65 (or earlier), and we’ll likely make similar choices to what we make now.

    Good for you working toward your goal!

  7. I don’t feel my weekends accurately reflect what my retirement would look like. I end up doing chores/errands on weekends because I can’t do them during the week. If I didn’t work, I would be doing lots of other things during the week: volunteering, exercising, cooking, cleaning, spending time with my pets, reading. I am sure I won’t be bored in retirement.

  8. My Monday to Friday job is physically taxing – I wore a pedometer to work a few times and I take close to 20,000 steps per shift (and this isn’t taking into account shovelling, raking, or sweeping. So when Saturday rolls around my body needs some recovery time. This is where condo living has its advantages – minimal maintenance. (And small mortgage!)

  9. One great thing about switching to part-time work hours from full-time hours in 2001 was being able to do my errands during off-peak hours. No more Saturday morning crowds at the stores. Instead, I could go to the supermarket at 11 AM on a weekday. Other errands which could only be done on weekdays were now easily done instead of taking time off work to get them done. I got my Saturday mornings back.

  10. 1. Thank you for the link in your blogroll. I’m honoured! It’s my first link 🙂

    2. My weekends.. well, they’ve blurred into my weekdays recently while I am waiting for a contract.

    I tend to blog and think a lot more in my downtime, because it costs less money than traveling all the time (I do watch my budget after all), and after a while, traveling becomes a tedious job rather than something enjoyed after a long year of working.

    I enjoy shopping for food. I enjoy doing mundane things, and life can’t be supercharged all the time (yay for napping!), which is probably why I feel the need to figure out what else I can do besides blog that will keep my brain interested in retirement.

    Maybe go back to school for fun.

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