Sunday, March 21, 2021

Life Lately - My hack for better weekends, Trust in God


I cover two unrelated topics in this post. The first is on my approach to having better weekends. The second, inspired by recent conversations with new graduates, is about one of my favorite songs and how it helped me through an anxiety-inducing transition from university into work.

**1**

I had a really crap weekend just over a year ago. It was a complete wreck of a weekend. I slept too much, ate too much, discussed charged topics endlessly, watched TV for what felt like an entire age, and was completely drained of all emotional energy when Sunday evening rolled around. It took all my 'home training' to not call in sick on Monday, and as I sat in the train to work – tired and drained before the week had even started – I realized I had to do better in future.

I thought about it for a little bit and decided to list the things I found energizing and then fill my weekends with those things. Starting that week, I began making what I now call 'my weekend to-do list'. There’s nothing fancy on the list and it includes most of the usual suspects – call x, take a long walk, read y, check on b, see a movie, and so on. Making the list during the week helps me look forward to the weekend, and ensures I have a 'balanced weekend' mostly consisting of things that energize me. It also helps fend off the “where did the weekend go?” question.

I am currently reading Deep Work again as it got picked by one of my book clubs, and this passage from Cal Newport describes why it can be challenging to enjoy weekends. "Ironically, jobs are actually easier to enjoy than free time, because like flow activities they have built-in goals, feedback rules, and challenges, all of which encourage one to become involved in one’s work, to concentrate and lose oneself in it. Free time, on the other hand, is unstructured, and requires much greater effort to be shaped into something that can be enjoyed."

If you feel like your weekends could be more relaxing, try doing some work to structure them better. Your future self will thank you for it.

**2**

My last few months in OAU were a rollercoaster ride. Having studied Mechanical Engineering for five years, I knew I did not want to practice engineering. I also knew I did not want to move back home to Ibadan. I wanted very badly to move to Lagos and start my career at P&G, but I had no clue how this was going to happen. So I did what came naturally to me – I thought, I worried, I made lists, I emailed people. Endlessly. And I sang.

When I look back at my notes from 2011, there are scribbles from Max Lucado’s My Heart Will Trust everywhere. And I mean everywhere. To-do list for a random day in September 2011? “Jesus, guide my way” sandwiched between “Send Chapter Two draft to Segun” and “Stop by UJCM Choir rehearsal”. Expense tracker for June 28 2011? “When I cannot see, you light my way” just below “Glo credit – N100”.

When I cannot see, you light my way” just below “Glo credit – N100”. June 28, 2011

I love My Heart Will Trust very much. It’s a short and simple song that recognizes the uncertainty inherent in being human and emphasizes trust in God as a source of stability and psychological safety.

My email outbox was a beehive of activity – numerous CV drafts; endless applications and follow ups; a long thread making a case for an interview at P&G despite not making the initial shortlist. As I read through them again this morning, I could feel the uncertainty and the anxiety, the burning desire for clarity. I could also remember the calm that would often follow after belting out My Heart Will Trust at the top of my voice.

It’s now ten years since that uncertain time and my journey has taken me down many different paths. What hasn’t changed all that much and for any significant amount of time is my trust in God. After all, my actual name – Mogbekeloluwa – means “I trust in God”.

Is there something really big or confusing going on with you? Something that induces anxiety and keeps you up at night? Something that makes absolutely no sense. God will see you through*.

Cheers to the coming week.

PS: * We’ve also recently finished a YouVersion plan titled God will Carry you Through. This one is a 14-day plan, and I recommend it too.

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