For this “Joie” post, I want to focus on something we don’t have nearly enough of – idle time.
This is VERY different from planned down time – vacations are wonderful things (and the average American doesn’t use anywhere near all their paid vacation time, which I’m pretty sure is a sign of a deeply sick society. And don’t even get me started on the huge amount of jobs that don’t even have paid time off!). But in this area, I let Jerome K. Jerome be my guide. Mr. Jerome (who was apparently too lazy to bother with having two different names) famously wrote “Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen.”
We have much to do and limited time in which to do it. That does not mean that we need to always be working. There is much that can only be accomplished during down time – I personally can attest to doing much of my best thinking when I’m NOT officially “working!”
I’ve written before about the Essential nature of the 12-Hour Vacation and other forms of idleness, but it’s worth revisiting.
For example, the last several weeks have been a tumult of conflicting responsibilities and tasks. In and of itself, that’s fine – life gets that way sometimes. But I know – from hard-won experience – that if I stay in that broth of stress for too long, I start to get snappish and forgetful. It’s not good and – repeat after me – in adult life, there are no gold stars for overdoing it.
Therefore, I planned a Sabbath to get my head back in the centered position. During this day, I did as little chore-type work as I could manage and I tried very hard to make that fun. For instance, I needed to cook dinner, so I made sure to try something quick but slightly exotic for my household. That resulted in spiced lamb meatballs, served with cucumbers, tomatoes, hummus, and Green Goddess dressing over lemon-juice-drizzled couscous, with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts (remember those from Week 1? I made them and they were SCRUMPTIOUS! Enough bacon fat and butter will have that effect!).
I spent the rest of the day mousing around – I found a short movie to watch. I painted. I worked through a meditation and stretching routine (hunching over a keyboard for long periods of time is really not at all good for me!). I worked through a French lesson, and so on. (And I discovered this series – I’d seen the second season, but not the first.)
Now – it may be that none of these things would bring you joy, and that’s okay! You must do what feeds YOUR soul in the short, dark days of January. And if you don’t know what that might be – well, then it’s clearly been WAY too long since you’ve experienced the sweetness of stolen idleness.
Look for joy, Divas!
See you next week!