We’ve been off school for a week, but today’s been the first day I’ve not had anything scheduled. Predictably, I’ve not used most of it constructively – nice lie-in, reading the paper, doing the crossword, doing the sudoku, going on Facebook, reading a novel, reading some magazines (admittedly New Scientist, Chemistry World and New York Review of Books, not trashy ones – so some claim to using my brain!) ….. oh, I did actually do some washing and even put a load of calculations on to run for my PhD, but it’s really been a very lazy day. Most people I know would say them same – we don’t seem to get many days like that, but we really enjoy them when we do.
Inevitably, of course, work does get in the way of relaxation… but are we all scheduling too many other activities in? I know I’m very prone to that – people ask me if I’d like to go to this, that or the other, I almost always say “yes”, and before I know it, I’m booked up however many weeks in advance and feel desperate for some time to myself.
I do worry that the kids at school do exactly the same thing. We have loads of brilliant extra-curricular activities on offer, and lots of them have outside activities they’re very involved in too. Inevitably, they’ll also be keeping up with each other via social media in that long period of separation each evening and weekend. By the time they do their homework, most can’t have a lot of time left to just do not much.
We do seem to be stuck with trying to have it all – to get involved in everything that appeals. I know some people seem to thrive on continual busyness (to some extent I do myself) but we’re almost moving to an expectation that we should be using our free time “constructively” rather than spending any time just mooching around. Gaining that seemingly elusive “work-life balance” doesn’t necessarily mean that the hours not filled with work have to involve “having a life” by taking part in scheduled leisure activities.
I also have something of a concern that the continual social interaction encountered now – whether through real-life meeting up or via ever-present social media – is producing a society in which people do not know how to be content when alone. That surely cannot be a good thing.
What can we do? Well, if I knew, I probably wouldn’t over-commit myself so much! But perhaps we could start by affirming the value of being lazy for a day or so!