Towards the end of the school year, I had an unusually brilliant idea, if I do say so myself. I had a surplus of vacation and time and I thought, why don’t I take three day weekends for the whole summer? This thought was unusual for me, because like so many of us, I don’t normally think of things to do to relax or take care of myself. Especially if I have to choose between working and taking care of myself through relaxation. It was brilliant because my husband only works Monday through Thursday and frankly, I needed the free time.
The school year for me (and for the students with whom I work) runs September through the end of June, with every other weekend reserved for work. The concept of a three day weekend is so foreign to me, since half of the time I have a one day weekend. I began my three day weekends at the end of June, but the time has been taken up by Other Things, like the vacation with my mother, my father’s visit, and recuperating from my injury. So this weekend in late July is my first real three day weekend with Nothing to Do.
Like any good workaholic confronted with free time, I’ve been desperate to fill up this Nothing with a whole lot of Somethings. I’ve almost worked myself up into quite a lather. How can I best use my free time? What will be the most productive, the most successful, the most relaxing? Not a great start to the weekend.
Lucky for me, I’ve found some good activities are things that are feeding my creativity, such as…
- Hunting for CDs at my local library. This weekend, I found Edith Piaf, an American Roots Music CD, some Interpol, Patti Smith, several Belle and Sebastian discs, and KoKo Taylor. I’m looking forward to listening to them while I cook and create.
- Speaking of cooking, I’ll be making a batch of Potato, Chicken and Fresh Pea Salad for my lunches this week. Over the past year, I’ve slowly fallen in love with cooking. I’m a really late bloomer in this respect, but I am so glad that I’ve come around. I’ve finally found that meditative aspect of chopping, boiling, and seasoning in silence and I tend to look forward to it. As long as I’m not starving while I’m doing it, of course.
- Working on my handmade gifts for my five friends on Facebook. One of the projects is really ambitious (for me) and I just don’t know if I’m going to be able to pull it off. I can’t wait to find out.
- Writing a bit. I’ve already written one poem for next week’s Read Write Poem prompt. I’m hoping that I can ride that creative wave for a bit longer, and perhaps make up last week’s prompt that I missed.
- Aaron and I are also, of course, taking some time to have plain old fun. Yesterday afternoon we took a rare trip to the casino on the edge of town and won $30, which we promptly spent on a dinner out with friends. Later today, we’re attending two festivals today and I know I’ll have pictures to post for each of them.
- Catching up on reading. Even though I have a stack of books to get through, I just bought a used copy of Julie & Julia yesterday, in preparation for the movie.
I have to remember, of course, how lucky I am to have this free time right now. Hopefully, I’ll be able fill my well enough to have some reserves for the early school year, at the very least. I think this is the most important part. I’ve got to get over the panic associated with free time to fill and focus on balancing my errands, chores, and mandatory fun with enough time to be creative by myself.
I always wonder how other people accomplish this, especially if they have families to care for and stressful jobs. So, how are you filling yourself up this weekend?