It feels like I hardly had a work week last week, and to be honest, I really didn’t. I worked Monday (coming off the weekend) and Friday (coming off three days off and preluding a weekend). To most, this may sound glorious.

To any of my readers who have hit the 50-year mark, I had a colonoscopy, upper scope, and some biopsies done, so you have an idea of how glorious those three days off were.  To anyone else, I will just tell you that not eating anything but chicken broth for two days and not eating at all for one day made me (a little) irritable near people who either talked about or ate food, no matter what the food was. And the other part of the prep? I am not even mentioning it.

To sum it up, my three days off were by no means a vacation. However, my return to work on Friday was.

Have you ever heard the cliche saying “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone?”

I had experienced the understanding of this quote through the passing of close friends and family, but I had never related it to work before. Not until this past week.

Although I was still not feeling 100% on Friday, it may have been my favorite day at work thus far. Seeing the kids’ faces provided me with smiles the whole school day. I made sure to say hello to each child as he or she walked into the school, and hearing them say my name brought me a happiness I can’t explain.

You see, typically, like most people, I lack motivation to go to work on a Monday. In my mind I would rather be continuing my weekend bliss. Then Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday come along, and I inch my way toward Friday–the best day of the week since it is the last. In reality, my work week is a countdown to the weekend.

But why? On Friday I learned that I can love work. Going three days without seeing the students introduced me to a new appreciation I have for my job.

And I can’t help but think that a lot of us get stuck in the countdown mindset. We see work as a chore and hope the week flies by so we can get a slight break on the weekend. With this perspective, we forget to pay attention to the parts of work we actually enjoy.

I encourage you to change your perspective. Imagine what you would miss if you had to miss a few days of work. Start seeing the little moments that you appreciate, and enjoy each day leading up to the weekend.

I most definitely don’t challenge you to sign yourself up for a colonoscopy, but I do hope you can see work in a different light.

It’s a Monday morning, but I am looking forward to this work day. After all, I now know how much joy is found in each child’s smile or quirk or request for assistance.

Having three days off of work changed my mindset, and I am so thankful. I hope that for the rest of my working days I can see the week days as opportunities for happiness, not countdowns to a short break. And I hope the same thing for you too.