Yesterday was Easter Sunday. As far as how to pass the day in question, I lay somewhere in a No Man’s Land between spending the day in church and flatlining on Dairy Milk. My Catholic Guilt has been dimmed of late, and I chose to spend the morning cycling around north London. It was a spring morning of piercing sunshine, the city was empty, the few people in the street strolled at half-pace and clocked each other in solidarity, as if we were the chosen guardians of our capital. A good morning to be alive.
Either to cultivate an allure of mystery or perhaps as a coping mechanism to avoid rejection, I’ve trained myself to be pretty self-sufficient in my own company. So it was strange to me that after a couple of hours of cycling around like this, I got a physical urge to be with someone. This could have been something to do with the day. Like Christmas, Easter is a time for being together. And on days characterised by their togetherness, those on the fringes are rightly so even more lonely than normal.
As late morning morphed into pre-lunch the streets got busier, the demographic became by-turn tourists in large groups or couples pulled lazily along by gently-swinging arms and interlinking fingers. And those on their own became more conspicuous by their aloneness. As I wheeled my bike through Covent Garden faintly beating the drum of my own self-containment, it dawned on me that this feeling of loneliness couldn’t so well be explained by the date in question, so much as the day.
This wasn’t an Easter thing, but a Sunday thing.
I came to a realisation. Sundays are the Holy Grail of a good life. If you’re living your Sundays well, you’re doing something right. If you wake up on Sunday morning with a childlike excitement as to what you’re going to do that day, you’re doing something right. If you manage to bed down on Sunday night with just enough satisfaction about the day you’ve had to distract you from the abyss of the coming week, you’re doing something right. Apply both of these feelings to life in general, and you realise Sundays are microcosm of life itself.
Whatever is going on in your week, more often than not Sunday is a day you mark off to indulge in you. In a time when so many people can’t wait to get to the back-end of Friday, the early part of the weekend seems to be made up of letting off the requisite steam. And so Sunday becomes the only day when we calmly get to do some actual living. The day for doing the things we love, that we never get the time to do otherwise. There can’t be a feeling quite as dank in life as nearing the end of a squandered Sunday. Sunday is the day for loving the hell out of ourselves.
If you’re spending your Sundays recovering from a need to forget the shittiness of life by getting royally screwed up most weekends, odds-on you’re compensating for something. Sundays don’t need to smash it the night before. Sundays dig the fresh continental-breakfast vibe. Sundays crack open the papers with the intention of not missing a single page. They read an article to the end they’re not even interested in. That’s how much Sundays love themselves.
The thing about Sundays is that they don’t need highs. They’ve seen enough of life to know that contentment isn’t a high, but a lonngterm removal of lows. Not an endless excitement so much as the skill of minimising the list of things that are worrying you.
My Sunday started well but petered out into something very sad. I ended up getting tired and going home around 4pm, then got myself involved in a YouTube marathon which lasted til around 6pm. I roused myself, went for a walk to Tesco, came back and fell asleep listening to the radio without having supper. I woke up around 11pm fully clothed and disorientated, ate some cheese and an apple and went to bed. It wasn’t quite the Sunday I’d been holding out for.
Some old Greek guy once said:
Eating and drinking alone is the life of a lion or a wolf.
I don’t totally agree with him, but I think what he was alluding to was that all-in-all, humans are better off doing things together. And wheeling my bike alone through the city on that morning of piercing sunshine, breathing in the expectation the air is so thick with on sunny-days of springtime, I realised that I’d prefer to be doing whatever I might be doing, with someone. And this is what Sundays serve up on a plate so perfectly. The opportunity to kick back and do whatever it is you truly love doing, and indulge in it in someone else’s company.
Not wanting to be anywhere else, doing anything else, with anyone else. So if we haven’t already, we need to find a person we’d like to spend our Sundays with, and start spending our Sundays with them.