What do I have to show for it?
and other worries affecting our leisure time
If you pick up an author interview at random, chances are they’ll extoll the importance of sitting at a desk every day and making time to write. They’ll say that even if you don’t put down a single word, there’s still value in getting up, getting dressed, and sitting down with the intention of doing so.
But what’s worse than setting aside time for a specific task and having nothing to show for it when the timer runs out? It feels like failure and sounds like lack of focus, but is that your voice or what you’d expect to hear others say about it?
It’s not surprising that this mindset has creeped into our leisure time as there aren’t a lot of other places where participation alone will fly. If we showed up to work every day with the intention of filing reports or reaching out to customers but never did, we wouldn’t last long.
That’s the contract there, but why do we feel similar pressure in the privacy of our own homes? Why do we need to account for our leisure time? Why does external validation make what we’ve written or baked or crocheted more tangible?
I was a little under the weather last week, and what always surprises me about having a cold is the way the body demands to be listened to. While your brain might try to convince you that you can keep going, your body brakes hard until you come to a stop. I was disappointed that I wasn’t up to writing last week, that I would have nothing to show, but it was a necessary break.
When was the last time you listened to your body before it spoke up? Goals are important, but so are the puzzles or gardening or TV shows that hold space for the things that make you and you alone happy. Pressure and accountability can drive results, but not everything needs to be measured.