Americans work hard and don't take time to rest--or play. That's a fact. Finding a way to rest now is even harder, because so many of us are making less money than we have ever made before and we have tapped out a good chunk of our savings.
I didn't get to take a vacation last summer. Finding leisure has become an endeavor in creativity. Years ago, while a student in college, I was determined to give my son an enjoyable summer. I decided to explore our city and charted the discount days of every museum, park, and recreation facility in the entire town.
For next to nothing we attended the zoo, the local amusement park, the art museum, the children's museum, and several sporting events. My son and I bonded together and both had an enjoyable time.
No, it wasn't really a vacation but it was a summer I still remember joyfully. We anticipated the trips and returned home rejuvenated and ready to face the rest of the week. That's the good thing about leisure. It helps to recharge the battery and makes facing dull ordinary days a bit easier.
I will have a few more suggestions about rest and leisure later in this series.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Last night I Googled the campsite that I attended many times as a teenager. I can't say why the years I spent at Camp Linden came to my mind. I remember how getting away from my normal routine had such a profound effect on me. Even today many, many, many years later, I remember some of those camp experiences.
My former husband was a man who had great difficulty leaving behind any schedule. He didn't like changing jobs because it meant getting accustomed to a new work schedule. He was always anxious during vacations, because it meant he had no schedule at all. He always seemed relieved to get back to work. I wonder, sometimes, if his inability to rest and relax had something to do with his unhappiness and early death.
I am always amazed at how even a small rest renews me, both physically and emotionally.
I occasionally get writers block, or realize I am not as efficient as I could be in my teaching. Often I find that, instead of thumbing through a teaching magazine, or studying a text about writing, what I need is to go to a movie or experience something different. I need to take a rest. It renews me and makes me more creative.
When I take even a small trip I am even more renewed.
With our economy the way it is, it is difficult for some people to take that vacation--or even a staycation (a stay-at-home vacation), but we all need to find some way to achieve the rest we all need.
Friday, June 4, 2010
As you recall, I wanted to take the theme of self-improvement for this year's blog. I thought about this over the Memorial Day Holiday. Memorial Day means a lot of things to a lot of people. Of course it began as a time when people would take the day to clean the grave sites of soldiers, remove the grass and weeds, and remember the soldiers who were laid to rest at these sites. Flowers were laid, and then picnics were enjoyed by all who participated.
Picnics are about the only part of that original tradition that still exists. Hopefully people still stop and remember those who gave their lives for freedom.
Most people think about Memorial Day as a time for school to end and summer and rest to begin. With the economy as it is most people are working harder for far less money. I know I am. I will work year round this year and make 1/4 of what I made for 10 months of work 2 years ago.
Still, I must find a way to squeeze in rest and joy. Studies have been published about the mental and even physical health that rest and happiness bring into our lives. Proverbs 17:23 says it like this:
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
Now research proves what the Psalmnist knew all along.