The rewards of freedom are always sweet, but its demands are stern, for at its heart is the paradox that the greatest enemy of freedom is freedom. —Os Guinness
We often find ourselves on Monday morning thinking through the events of the weekend and shaking our heads. Sure, there were some good moments, but those were peppered with the bad, the ridiculous, and the downright frustrating. If there are supposed to be rewards for working hard and persevering, they didn’t necessarily seem to choose this weekend to show up. Consider:
- Two women were shot last night on Indy’s East side. Both are in stable condition.
- A Two-year-old drowned in a neighbor’s pool.
- Yet another person was shot and killed at a Westside apartment complex. Apartments are becoming battle zones.
- For the second time in a week, human remains were found in the White River.
- Six armed robberies were reported in one night, mostly aimed at women.
I ‘m not sure whether that’s enough to make one want to turn right around and go back to bed or pack up and move somewhere a little less populated. I don’t think Indianapolis is really any worse than any other major city. There are times when the universe decides to dump a whole lot of bad on us at once. When that happens over a weekend we get to Monday morning staggering, feeling as though we’re hung over from a party we don’t remember attending.
During times like this, it can be really difficult to keep focused on long-term goals. When surrounded by the negative it becomes difficult to imagine that anything positive is ever going to happen. Our brains understand that if we keep moving forward, doing the things we know we have to do, that we will eventually succeed. Our emotions don’t necessarily buy that argument, though, and Mondays seem like a very good time to tumble into depression and not come out.
Generally speaking, utilizing a system of rewards and punishments has proven to be less than effective, especially in educational matters. However, I remain convinced that when we feel as though the universe is punishing us for merely daring to exist we deserve rewards simply for managing to survive. I worry every time Kat visits a friend who lives in an apartment complex or drives on I-465. She deserves rewards for surviving both those experiences. The kids were non-stop narcissists over the weekend. We deserve rewards for letting them live.
You, of course, have your own troubles and challenges and you, too, deserve your own rewards. The problem is, it’s Monday. We can’t exactly go skipping work or whatever simply because we need to recover from the weekend. So, here are some ideas for rewards you might give to yourself that won’t dramatically interfere with the rest of your day.
- Donuts. Indy is blessed with a wide selection of donut shops. Yelp lists over 20. That should, in theory, put one near you. Even if it doesn’t, there’s always the Krispy Kremes at your local Speedway. The sugar will help launch you into whatever comes next.
- Beer. Okay, so depending upon when you’re reading this it might be a wee bit early to start indulging in alcohol just yet, but by noon it’s fair game and Indy has a plethora of breweries so finding one shouldn’t be a problem. Maybe treat yourself with one at lunch and see if it doesn’t improve your outlook on the day.
- Call your mom, or a sibling, or someone else whose voice makes you happy. These are the times I miss being able to call Poppa and just say hi. A calm, familiar voice can turn a day around in a heart beat.
- Shopping. You may need to be careful here. Don’t burst your budget so that you have nasty credit card bills coming at you in the future. A little retail therapy can make a significant difference in your day, though, even if it’s just picking out something online.
- Quick sex. There’s probably not enough time for all the romance and foreplay to which you’re accustomed, but a quick nip before work or at noon isn’t a bad use of your time and is the one thing that is likely to put a smile on your face.
There are other rewards you can find, I’m sure. Do something that brings you pleasure and makes you smile. Perhaps a chocolate covered strawberry, or a little extra creme in your coffee this morning. Rewards don’t have to be large or extravagant to be effective. You can reward yourself in thousands of different ways if you think about it a moment. Sometimes, just taking a moment to think can be a reward itself.
Weekends aren’t always pleasant and relaxing. If yours was a bit more challenging than you would have liked, take a moment and reward yourself. After all, you’ve survived once again. Not everyone can say that.