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Easy like sunday morning, no more?

Last night, while rewatching an older British crime drama (Broadchurch, early 2000s, still holds up!), I found myself unexpectedly moved by a scene featuring a family enjoying a traditional Sunday roast. A Sunday roast! It struck me then how much I missed that cherished tradition and what it meant to me. Where did it go? Is it just because I now live in Australia, or has it quietly slipped away from our lives without us noticing?

Perhaps it's my age—I'm currently 54—but I often find myself longing for the simplicity of days gone by. This phase of life brings about significant changes for most women. My children are grown, and the structured family life I once knew has faded. Don't get me wrong—I embrace change and progress. I appreciate the opportunities available to women today that were unheard of in the past. But sometimes, I can't help but feel we should hold onto some of the things that brought us joy and push back against progress just a little. Yet, even admitting that feels like resistance to change... It's a tough balancing act.

Let me take you back to my childhood Sundays. I was born into an Irish Catholic family that moved to London just before I was born. I'm the eldest of five children, and it was just us—we didn't have much extended family around. My dad worked all week, often Saturdays too, while my mom took care of us and the house. Without fail, every Sunday and holy day, we went to church. Even on holidays in foreign countries where we didn't speak the language, we found a church to attend. After church, we'd return home to a delicious Sunday roast, often cooked by both my parents. For dessert, it was either my grandma's trifle or my dad's favorite lemon meringue pie. On Sundays, all the shops were closed, and public transport was limited, so most people stayed home. The roads were quiet, even the nearby motorway.

Sunday afternoons were spent with my dad dozing off on the couch in front of old cowboy or war movies while us kids played with the neighbourhood kids until it got dark. For Sunday evening "tea," my mom would bake up to three different types of cakes—a highlight of my week. To me, cake represents love and comfort, hence their inspiration in my work. Some of my fondest memories are of dancing in the living room with my sister to the top 40 singles on the radio, waiting to hear which track would be crowned number one for the week, while our tea was being prepared. Thinking back on those Sundays always brings a smile to my face.

My Sundays now are virtually indistinguishable from any other day of the week. It's hard for me to establish a schedule that allows for defined days off now that the traditional "weekend" has evolved away. Monday to Friday used to be workdays, 9 to 5, but with the advent of flexibility (which has its benefits, I know), I find it challenging to ever allow myself to truly relax. I used to think this was just another flaw of mine, another thing I needed to fix, but during a rare day out from the studio with an art friend this week, we both admitted to feeling the same way. We laughed and justified our outing to the gallery as "kinda work," searching for inspiration that would make us more productive when we returned to the studio. We both agreed that while we're grateful for the opportunity to paint every day, it does come at a price. This year, we both resolved to incorporate more of life outside of work into our days, but here we are, nearing the end of February, and all we've done is work from one deadline to the next. We let the summer pass us by, mostly spent in the studio. It seems that taking time off is still not something to be enjoyed but another item to tick off the to-do list.

On this Sunday morning, I have the whole day ahead of me, no plans, and my partner is at work, earning a decent hourly rate for working Sundays because "it makes it worthwhile." In my head, I've been telling myself I should make the most of this day in the studio without any disturbances, but I forced myself to sit and write down how I've been feeling in an attempt to make sense of it all. Why is it so hard to do the things in life that bring us joy? Why do the "shoulds" always take over? How can I paint in the studio with the same enjoyment and freedom I feel, without turning it into another productivity fix? I don't want the good times in my life to be just memories—a life enjoyed only in hindsight. How can I stop the days, weeks, and years from flying by in a blur? We know the answers lie in being present, in living a less distracted life, but perhaps that, too, is becoming a thing of the past, just like easy Sunday mornings.

(Just my thoughts.)

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