Monthly Mantra: August 2020
Leisure is not innate to American society. We don’t build rest into our daily schedules. We are not in the habit of lingering around the dinner table long after the meal is finished. We rarely take mission-less strolls.
Leisure is for young children, we think. Or, leisure is reserved for women of a certain socioeconomic circle who have no other obligations save for luxuriating and galavanting.
Leaving time for leisure feels risky in a society that champions productivity above all else.
We’ve come to believe that using time productively means creating more, selling more, sending more emails, and vacuuming more floors. But leisure is productivity in the long-term. It teaches us to relish the moment and use time freely. It increases our bandwidth by allowing us to contemplate and reflect, and gives us space to open ourselves to new ways of thinking.
Leisure doesn’t need to be earned. You do not become eligible for it based on how many hours you expend raising your children, or showing up at your desk.
The more scheduled your life is, the more in-demand your time, the more essential it becomes that you purposefully, and in as far advance as possible, leave time for leisure. It is too tempting to fill every moment of the day with work. Even more tempting now that work is home.
No one is going to celebrate your leaving time for leisure, save for maybe your family and closest friends. Leaving time for leisure may not directly advance your career or win you the sorts of accolades that productivity will. But as leisure restores you, it facilitates better, more adaptive, more ingenious efforts at work, whether your version of work is a store, or a dining room-turned-office, or the playroom.
Consider this your assignment and your permission slip: leave time for leisure. You never had to earn it, but rather to return to it.
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