Leisure is the exultation of the possible.
- Martin Buber
I’ve had some time recently that would correctly be categorized as vacation, time spent away from work. About a month ago, I decided somewhat spontaneously to wrap up the work week prematurely and take Friday off. My brother was arriving in town and I’d have more time to visit, not to mention tackle the innumerable tasks on my holiday to-do list. During his time in Syracuse, we enjoyed nice leisurely dinners and caught up on the latest news about work, family, and friends. I also went to the dentist, got my bangs trimmed, had lunch with coworkers, and wrote a blog entry - all on a “vacation day.”
More recently, Syracuse University had its Green Days, the week when the University closes between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays to save energy. Green Days are in their fourth year and are a much-loved occurrence among SU staff. The only Green Days wrinkle is that many of those who work in fundraising still head into the office, since the end of the calendar year is a busy time to accept, process, and acknowledge charitable contributions. Luckily, my role at Maxwell only required me to work a few hours a couple of days to ensure that incoming gifts would correctly be credited to the appropriate donors and year.
Which meant that I still had a lot of Green Days time to rest, relax, and celebrate leisure. Except, for the most part, I didn’t. I tidied, I cleaned, and I tended to dry cleaning. I also shopped, got my hair done, and lunched and scrapbooked with friends. (These latter activities were decidedly more enjoyable and leisurely than the former.)
Perhaps, for some people, at least some of the time, leisure does not equate to the most accepted definition of the word. It is in this context that I selected this quote: “Leisure is the exultation of the possible.” Maybe last month, what I needed was the opportunity of free time to take care of household tasks, run errands, and spend time with friends, and leisure allowed me the freedom to do so.
But I’m still left scratching my head. Were my hectic vacation and Green Days schedules symptoms of a busy time of year? Or a more systemic reflection of my personality? Am I capable of practicing leisure as it’s commonly defined by others? Stay tuned as I reflect inward and explore these questions.