As I was reading news and listening to music this past Sunday evening, I recognized the very familiar feeling of the Sunday Night Syndrome (SNS) building up. Even though I am on vacation, even if I don’t have a stressful week ahead, years of conditioning that started in kindergarten still kicked in to create all sorts of symptoms of depression, ranging from high irritability to feelings of an impending doom.
Every Sunday, the SNS hits right in the afternoon, make its peak around midnight, and heal completely by Monday noon. That is, of course, until the next Sunday afternoon.
So, why is that something worth writing about, you might ask, and I will tell you why. This time, I realized something! Actually, I realized something I already knew but this time saw its concrete manifestations: Somehow, I live my life constantly in anticipation of an expected future, i.e., the future I expect to have under the current scheme of things.
I don’t think I am an exception. And that is just weak sauce, fellow friends! It really is, because Sunday is weekend. On weekend, we sleep, we kick back, we have fun. So, we must like Sundays. We should be pumping endorphin and serotonin left and right as we experience the weekend all the way to the very end. In fact, we should start feeling low only when it is Monday when stress and fatigue slowly starts building up again; and presumably, the lowest point should be the Friday evening when we have truly exhausted all the happiness we have built after a full week of work or school! Well, that’s weird. I am generally not depressed on Friday evenings. Are you?
On a second thought, the examples of this phenomenon are plenty. I feel down and sluggish every Fall equinox and feel refreshed and energetic on the Spring one. In fact, I like long days but I don’t like the Summer solstice, even though it is the longest day of the year, followed by many other long days. And you know what? I love the Winter solstice — even though it is six months away from the longest day.
Maybe, this feels too dorky for you. So, how about this? If one has to go through a major operation, the days leading up to the operation, where the person usually suffers much less physical pain, feels more traumatic than the days that immediately follow, even if she ends up with a million stitches.
Basically, our minds live in our expected futures while our bodies live in the present. Yet, there is no guarantee of living through the next moment to that future we so expect to have. And even if there were a guarantee, what is the point of agonizing ourselves over something we cannot control? The chances are, the day that follows Sunday will in fact be a Monday. So, why ruin Sunday, too?
Having realized this, I will literally make my Sunday blues go away, starting next week. I know I will because it is suboptimal.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” (John Lennon, 1980)