Leisure and Laziness, Etc.
It’s funny how the same action can be a vice or virtue, depending on how you experience it.
Take Netflixing, something I do. Sometimes, it feels like I have been sucked into a vortex of laziness that I can’t shake. Watching episode after mindless episode drains my creativity and makes me loathe to start a project that I know will take a while to set up or complete. It feels….bleh, for lack of a better term, to glance up at the clock and see the hours go by as I shamefully cross out the to-do list and add more to tomorrow’s agenda.
On the other hand, sometimes Netflixing is a glorious haven of relaxation. My husband and I squealed when the next season of the Great British Baking Show was released. When Leo was a newborn, and my life consisted of pumping, nursing, rocking, and eating on the couch, I savored the moments watching The Crown with my mother-in-law. I loved listening to the familiar twinkling soundtrack of Grey’s Anatomy as I just relaxed with my swaddled babe and figured out motherhood. I love finding a random, very good film to watch with my husband on a Friday night as we eat whatever treat we just had to purchase.
It all depends on how you use Netlfixing. There is a season and a reason for Netflixing.
Or take eating sweets and indulging oneself. Sometimes, I feel gross because I know that I’ve been aimlessly wandering around in my kitchen looking for something to snack on because I am bored. Recently, I “accidentally” ate a whole jar of buttercream frosting in a frenzy and then spent the remainder of the night in pain on my couch. Not eating real food makes one feel gross.
However, sometimes there is proper “virtue” to be had in indulgence, I think. There is something fun about buying chocolate covered honeycomb at Sprout’s after a long day. We love taking Leo in walks to our favorite frozen yogurt shop. It was magical to spend our first Christmas evening as a family with cinnamon rolls around the tree, and yes, we ate them all.
Sugary things can be a dangerous slope, and they can also be a good thing to enjoy simply because life is good and they are to be enjoyed.
Days with sweatpants and relaxation and ice cream and candy….of course they can be lazy, just like anything can be lazy when we are supposed to stretch ourselves and move forward in pursuit of greatness. Of course they can also be delights, just like anything can be a delight when we are supposed to rest well from our hard work and rejuvenate ourselves to go on and do the hard work all over again.
Is there a difference between true leisure and laziness? Yes, I think so, but sometimes what is lazy one day can be leisure the next. It takes a close attentiveness to the rhythm of our lives to discern what it is we are supposed to be doing in the present moment. My dad once said that if he was asked what he’d like to be doing when the world ended, he would answer that he’d like to be doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing, whether that was relaxing or saving the world.
There is a time and a place for leisure, but not laziness.
There is a time and a place for productivity and work, but not miserable burn out.
We should all be content for striving for a pleasant mixture of the two. The proverb “work hard, play hard” lived out means that our leisure and work both dance together for us throughout a good life.