I work a lot, and always have done. I've often had multiple jobs or roles which involve a large amount of prep. Now working in theatre and especially comedy, I'm often busy both day and night, including Saturday nights and Sundays. I'm writing, rehearsing, marketing, watching gigs, running gigs, watching plays, directing plays, meeting people about projects, panicking about having no projects... As you'd imagine, some days it's hard to find quality time with my husband and kids.
Being religious is deeply unfashionable in my industry but I think I've made it “my thing” by incorporating matchy headscarves into my look and being that one who not only brings her own food but cooks for everyone else at any opportunity.
I'm hugely grateful to my cultural heritage for one particular thing, and that is Shabbat (sabbath).
Every week, I go analogue for 25 hours. No computer or phone. No writing. That is actually bloody difficult because as soon as I unplug myself from the world I get brilliant ideas that rarely stick in my head until I can get them on paper. No cooking - everything has to be prepared before sunset on Friday and none of those activities can resume until nightfall on Saturday.
My family do the same. So during Shabbat we have no distractions and we just hang out. Sometimes with friends and relatives, sometimes just the four of us. No gameboy/tablet/warhammer/minecraft/Facebook/Twitter. The TV is off. With an almost teen and a just graduated student this is an utter delight. They talk to us about their week and their lives. We laugh. A lot. We play board games and eat together.
From the second my spoonful of chicken soup hits my mouth I know that I am in that special zone and I can feel myself unwind. Without it, I could never cope with my working life. In old Jewish texts Shabbat is compared to a Bride or a Queen, and even now we get ready for our weekly royal visit by showering, putting on smart or special clothes, cleaning the house and preparing delicious meals. So once a week, we actually get the best of each other. Our full attention, our spruced up selves, quality time.
People often comment that I post more Facebook statuses (stati?) than most people they know. You're probably just as grateful to have a 25 hour break from my constant play/gig plugs as I am for the day of rest.
So the Saturday cold callers will have to find someone else who has recently had an accident or won a trip to the Caribbean. I am keeping Shabbat.