The water cooler conversation in every job I’ve had is sports, it’s what did you do this weekend, it’s ‘How are your parents doing?’ —Kal Penn
Nope, I didn’t attend Coachella this weekend. Chances are pretty high you didn’t, either. Sorry, but if I have a spare $1,500 I’m not likely to spend it on tickets to a music festival at some polo club in Indio, California. I don’t really care who was there. I don’t give a damn what they were wearing or which pseudocelebrity’s nipple ring showed through her top (yeah, I would have thought pseudocelebrity was hyphenated but my editor insists that it’s not). I didn’t attend a major league baseball game, or even an NBA playoff. I didn’t go to the movies. I didn’t even watch Netflix. I didn’t do any of the things my newsfeed is trying to convince me I missed over the weekend.
Do I have any regrets? Not a one. I would hope that you don’t, either. While the celebrities and movie stars flaunt the fact they don’t have anything better to do with their time or their money, but want to make sure you see them anyway, we were hanging out here in Indiana, of all places, quietly having a good weekend, building memories, doing things that actually yield a positive result and build a stronger community.
One of the downsides of social media is seeing what everyone else is doing. Pictures of friends and celebrities in far off exotic places or on vacation, can cause us to feel that our normal, everyday, sometimes less-than-thrilling lives are somehow incomplete because we’re not doing any of the really “cool” stuff. We may be jealous. We may feel depressed. We might think that our lives are incomplete.
You know better. You’ve always known better. You know as well as I do that chasing frivolous things just for the attention ends up being shallow. You don’t need me to pull out the dozens of sociological studies that show we’re at our happiest when we’re spending time with friends and family, or just relaxing and reading a book. You don’t need me to remind you that our lives feel better and more fulfilled when we completely unplug from all forms of media every once in a while. Yet, when all those pictures start popping up in Facebook and on Instagram, we still get those twinges of guilt that perhaps we didn’t do enough, or didn’t do the most cool things.
What did we do this weekend? We had Long’s donuts for breakfast. We tilled the garden and started getting it ready to plant. There was a huge piece of shrubbery that has been bugging us, so Kat’s dad came over and helped rip that monster from the ground. We celebrated a couple of birthdays. Kat gave her sister a scalp massage. The kids made new friends, managed to get absolutely filthy more than once, made their own pizzas, and enjoyed having birthday cake. Bubbles were blown. Laundry was washed, folded, and put away. Kat came to the rescue of a friend with a baby sitting need and I spent some time Skyping with my 18-year-old. Somehow, we managed to find time in there to buy groceries, write four articles, and Kat was at the salon from open to close on Sunday.
Each and every one of the things we did holds more value than getting sunburned while standing in the middle of a field trying to listen to a band that you can’t even see. We were productive, we got some rest, and we spent time with people who are genuinely important to our lives.
We don’t have to travel hundreds of miles and pretend to be something we’re not in order to have a good weekend. Neither do you. We had a good weekend. No regrets. I’m willing to bet yours was just as wonderful. Drop the guilt and enjoy the memories.