Friday, July 19, 2013

The Proper Use of Downtime

Following the lovely madness that was the Joss in June conference (and we're still in the "wrapping up" stage of that project as we collect comments from attendees and make some decisions about ongoing "best practices" for convening a conference) and the end of my two summer school classes, FryDaddy and I had decided to take some time off in July.  Some of that time is going to be devoted to a couple of home improvement projects that we've wanted to do for two years (funny how that works, isn't it?), but we also knew we needed a getaway to have a chunk of time that was devoted just to us.

I highly recommend it.  In our case, it wasn't expensive - remember that I work for a public educational institution in a state that is at the bottom of the barrel in terms of pay scale and FryDaddy is a grad student, so luxury vacations for us are something quite different than they may be for others - and it was wonderful.  Since I was a little girl, my parents have had a beach place at the upper end of the Redneck Riviera.  It's a 1960s motel that was cut up into condos (complete with knotty pine ceilings!) and, with a little planning ahead, we can usually get some time down there in summer.  This time, my sister was down with her two youngest.  (Other members of the family come and go, but my niece is doing a gymnastics camp, so she and my sister are the constants in July.)  Our schedules don't usually permit much down time to visit - we live about two hours apart and we're both insanely busy, so our visits are usually the stuff of holidays.

This was nice.

I still have trouble unplugging as much as I want to (and as much as I should, to be honest), but I did all right.  I kept up with my newfound resolution to exercise thanks to YouTube videos and a willingness to look a little foolish in the living room.  We also took our youngest nephew to see Despicable Me 2 and got him totally sugared up on Slushies and Nerds.  I had a walk on the beach with my niece during which she explained the intricacies of her level of gymnastics.  All of us worked on a gigantic puzzle that was bigger than the table it was laid out on.  There was sand, and sun, and surf.  There was coffee savored in the porch swing.  There were days that started closer to lunchtime.  There were bookstores to explore when it rained torrentially.  And there was that most precious of commodities - time.

Don't overlook that.  Time.  You don't know how much of it you get and, to my knowledge, on their deathbed, no one has ever said, "If only I'd spent more time at the office."  Yes, work matters, but remembering why you bother in the first place - that ought to be at the top of the list every single day.

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