Leisure [lee-zher, lezh-er]: noun. Time free from the demands of work or duty, when one can rest, enjoy hobbies or sports, etc.
The word leisure, above description curtosey of dictionary.com, can mean many things to many people. Some use it as a nice way to describe the time while someone is out of work: “Oh, he got fired from his job so he has a few months of leisure while he looks for another.” Some use it in a snarky/envious way to describe prep-school boys who go to “work” for their daddy’s company straight out of college: “Man, Chip has it made, total life of leisure.” (becuase they’re always named Chip, or Blake, or something with the “The Third” after it.) When I hear the word leisure, I always think of this computer game my brother let my friends and I play when we were way too young to understand why the game was too old for us. We knew that the “rubbers” you had Leisure Suit Larry pick up in the game were useful when he met a lady, but we didn’t quite know why. The game did have catchy theme music, though. I’m sure that was the draw…
Today, leisure is the word I choose to write about my current situation. But first, a little fairy tale, mainly because I’ve been binging the show Once Upon A Time. Here goes.
Once upon a time, there was a girl who graduated from a very prestigious school (if you’re using the word prestigious to mean “good at throwing parties”, that is). She really loved to write. She wrote all kinds of things: poetry, short stories, plays. She started writing a book three or four times (each a different story from the other) but never finished them. And even though the girl’s degree from the aforementioned “prestigious” school was in literature, she knew she needed something to pay the bills; that her parents would not afford her the life of leisure she’d always enjoyed, forever.
The girl was also very good at basket weaving, and she was delighted to get a job at a big basket company right out of school. She longed to travel the country and write the great American novel, but she told herself she’d have plenty more time for that someday, after she’d mastered the basket-weaving industry. After all, if John Grisham hadn’t been a lawyer before he was a writer, how good would The Firm have been, really? She loved her work, even though she felt it left her no time to write. She’d find time here or there, wherever she could, but it was very sporadic.
Time passed and the girl grew better at basket weaving. She got to travel and see the country and even earned some letters to put after her name on her signature line. Basket weaving paid the bills and put more than ramen noodles on the table, though now with all of the cool things they’re doing with ramen noodles these days, that analogy might be going out of style.
She enjoyed working on the baskets, managing the teams that worked on the baskets, but what she really longed for, was to sell them! Selling the baskets ignited a little spark in the girl that she hadn’t felt in quite some time. It felt akin to writing. She loved selling baskets, it didn’t even feel like work to her. She enjoyed walking into a room full of people she didn’t know, and finding someone she had something in common with. It thrilled her. Each time she met someone new at a meeting, she wondered what their back story was. How was it that they ended up in the basket weaving industry? Many times during meetings with too long or boring speakers, she’d make up stories in her head about a person in the room; where they had come from, who they were married to, what type of cereal they might eat if you threw them in a room with a bowl, a spoon, some milk and the entire Kellogg’s catalog. (You can tell a great deal by a person’s cereal choice.) Whatever their backstory, she loved helping them find a solution in her baskets.
The girl was very happy, but after fifteen years, knew that a change had to come her way. When she was ever truly unhappy about something in the past, her mom always taught her – the only thing certain in life is change, that nothing (especially pain) lasts forever.
Her basket weaving company decided to sell a small portion of itself, and with it, she no longer had a home to do what she wanted.
The girl (though I guess by now we should call her a woman, but that sounds way too adult for a fairly tale) went on a quest to find the perfect new basket weaving company; one that would fit the girl she was today, not fifteen years ago. And when she found what she was looking for, she knew it in her heart and jumped up and down on the hotel bed in celebration to prove it (see, I told you it was best to keep calling her a girl).
This new basket weaving company asked her something she’d never been asked before, “Do you need a break?”. A break?, she thought. She had never considered that. “You know”, they said, “a little leisure time to recharge before you jump in with both feet.” Having taken off zero time between school and her current job, she realized just how fast fifteen years had flown. She quickly agreed, feeling like it was a stroke of luck and genius that this company had been brought into her life.
But what would she do with twenty one days of leisure?
She pondered and decided that no matter what else she did (hoping some of it included more sleep), she’d devote five minutes a day (at the very least) to the thing in her life that she had the least amount of time for; the thing that she was truly passionate about (aside from her feelings for Prince Charming). And so, she decided to write.
The girl knew that the best way to keep up her writing up was to bring her friends along for the ride, something she’d learned at the University of Partying…I mean…the Prestigious school of Prestige. Why go it alone when she could help others with their passion items too!?
So my question to you is this. What could you devote at least five minutes to a day, for twenty-one days? What’s that thing that makes you, you (or maybe made you, you so long ago that you’ve forgotten how much you used to love it)? I’m not talking about squats, sit-ups, drinking more water, etc. I’m talking about the thing you are passionate about, or the thing that you used to love that you miss the most. Maybe it’s writing, or singing, or reading, or (cough) actual basket-weaving. Maybe it’s crocheting a baby hat a day for the babies in the NICU like my amazing sister just did for lent. Maybe it’s playing the viola, or meditating. Maybe it’s listening to Metallica and whipping your hair around your face. Whatever it is, join me! Five minutes might turn into ten, or thirty some days. Some days five minutes might be all you have. Whatever it ends up being, it’s five minutes a day more than you devoted to it yesterday, or last week, or fifteen years ago.
Who’s with me?!
Oh, and the girl lived happily ever after. Because, well, anybody who lives life with passion, is always happy.
The end. Or is it the beginning…