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There was a time when I dreaded Mondays. Most people do. Which is odd, if you really think about it. Monday is, after all, just another day in a long line of days that provide us opportunity for advancement and self-expression. It’s no different from Tuesday or any other day, except for the fact that it marks the beginning of the workweek. Maybe that perception is the problem. Or, maybe it has more to do with how we spend our quality time.

It seems to me that the times in my life when I was at my most miserable, Monday speaking, was when I wasn’t allowing myself any outlets for self-expression. Instead, I was towing a line usually set by a committee of unimaginative and, more often than not, miserable policy engineers. They weren’t happy, so they had to make sure the people who followed in their footsteps weren’t happy either. The truly unfortunately part was that I let that unhappiness creep into my downtime, which stunted my ability to experience creative joy.

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Aren’t we all at our very best when we are allowed to be creative? I’m not just talking origami swans and modern dance, here. Creativity comes in many forms. Some of the most creative people I’ve ever met don’t consider themselves artists in any way whatsoever. Instead, they simply love what they do and find pleasure in coming up with better ways of doing what they love. In the process, they inspire others to be creative in their work, too. That’s a much better way of setting policy, in my mind.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my weekends. In fact, I’m only now learning how to enjoy them to their fullest. Whether I’m writing, editing, spending time with friends, or giving myself over to the complete hedonism of Naked Sundays, the call of the day is relaxation and enjoyment. You would think that would make me dread the beginning of the workweek, but it really doesn’t. For me, Monday just constitutes a shifting of gears and the beginning of another productive week, which, if all goes well, is reason to enjoy the coming weekend that much more. I think it’s all connected.

As somebody who suffers from clinical depression, loving what I do hasn’t always been easy. I liken it to being presented with all my favorite dishes, but having to eat them while being suffocated by the smoke from a dumpster fire. Makes it very hard to enjoy the wonders of creation when I’m choking on black smoke. All this really means is I have to work extra hard to remind myself of my blessings and downplay the hiccups, which at times can feel more like full blown impediments. The meds help, too, I’m not gonna lie…

It also means I am so much more appreciative of those things and people in life who inspire and ignite passion. Not everybody can be happy all the time. The world has become an increasingly combative place and we all worry, to some extent, about what tomorrow will bring. But I have boatloads of respect for those who can see through adversity to find that slightly tarnished silver lining and buff it out to magnificence so others can benefit from the motivation. These are my favorite people and I try every day to emulate them.

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So, whether you’re a glass half empty person or a glass half full sort, chances are good that you have particular feelings about Mondays. Here’s my challenge, not only for today, but for all the Mondays to follow: Rather than see them as a return to the grind, give yourself reasons to appreciate them. Whatever it is that you do to pay your bills, there must be something about it you find interesting or at least tolerable. You wouldn’t be doing it otherwise, right? There had to have been some form of passion that moved you in that direction, or you wouldn’t be where you are.

Passion is one of those things we cannot live without. Your job need not be the source of your passion, but neither should it be something that destroys it. That is completely up to you. Being passionate about something, anything, is a choice. Having passion for a hobby, or an activity that incites you to think and act creatively, even if it is just on the weekends, can inform your worldview during all those hours in which you are not pursuing them. It may even remind you why you’re laboring in your chosen field, or convince you to make the changes necessary to explore other options.

With the right perspective, suddenly Mondays aren’t an obstacle, so much as a means to an end. You can’t get to Friday without first traversing Monday, right? And if you’re already lucky enough to love doing that which also pays your bills, all the better. In any event, I can tell you, exploring your passions can alleviate all kinds of professional and societal pains. They give you something to look forward to. They refresh your brain and can give you a much-needed attitude adjustment. Even better, they can release the tyrannical grip Mondays have over your psyche, making them just another day filled with opportunities for expression.

Or, you know, you can just go on hating life one day out of seven for the rest of your natural existence. Doesn’t sound like much fun to me, but then, I’m hardly an expert. I’ve got my own baggage to haul around. Being an advocate for passion allows me the opportunity to count my own blessings, which in turn keeps the demons at bay. You might say I’m passionate about passion. It works for me. What’s your passion? Find it and work it into your lifestyle. Once you’ve done that, do everything within your power to stay passionate. Believe me, it will change your life.

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