Monday, May 28, 2012

The Lost Art of Leisure

If you've forgotten how to chill out, watch a cat; they are experts!

I've spent my long, four-day Memorial Day weekend being anything but productive. I didn't paint the new pantry cabinet shelves and doors as I had planned. I didn't go to parties, or swimming, or shopping, or out to eat. I didn't plant tomatoes and peppers, or garden, or prune the shrubs as I had planned (thanks to overactive pollen allergies and extreme heat). In fact, we've barely left the house.

Instead I've read, watched movies, surfed the net too much, slept quite a lot and enjoyed several great meals. I did clean, because I find it much easier to relax in a clean house, and did laundry. I don't know if it's the fact that I've been going on overload, or if I'm just being lazy, but either way I couldn't be happier with having four whole days to relax.

Sometimes it seems like we've completely forgotten how to relax, to enjoy life, to just be rather than constantly doing something.

We value more, bigger, better, faster. The internet, TV, magazines--media of all types--are full of tips on how to be more productive and fit more into already busy schedules. We reward workaholics and take fewer vacation days than ever even though we aren't granted many to begin with. It seems as if there is always something productive we should be doing with our time.

But why?

Why must we fill every moment of every day being productive, making money or getting things done? We have to realize that there will always be more work; there is no finish line for the jobs of today. Eventually you have to let it go, make time to enjoy life, relax and recharge.

We've all heard the cliche that no one ever wished they had spent more time working on their deathbed. What is the point of working so hard if you never get a moment to enjoy it? If you haven't already, take a moment to just enjoy your life. Quick, before the holiday weekend ends!


  1. Well said! I often feel exhausted just by reading the lists of things that people plan to do on their vacations. When I first quit my job I had similar plans for all the things I would get done now that I had "infinite free time." As it turns out, the main thing I've accomplished is learning how to do nothing!

    1. Learning how to do nothing is an important skill!

  2. Love it! Great picture, too -- you're absolutely right that no animal is quite so good at chilling as the cat.

    1. Cats are experts at a lot of things - relaxing, taking cat naps, getting their way...

  3. ah yes. A perfect example of this was an article I saw in the NYT about people whining about the lack of good wi-fi on Amtrak. For heaven's sake, RELAX for the two hours it takes to get from DC to Philly. It's perfect for cat naps. Or longer naps. And hey, if you rest, you're more efficient when you do work!


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