License to sloth*

I woke up this morning and decided that enough is enough with the lists! I have enough of those, and we here on the blog have many. They do make me survive the day, and get me through the most hectic and crazy periods, pretty much like the ones at the end of a Fall term would be. But do you know what happened to me yesterday? I caught myself fantasizing about the ALL THE THINGS I would do during this break, and–gasp–actually sat down to make a list. Of the fun things to do during the break. Really? Really!?! Is that what it’s come down to? Is that what I’ve become? Has my life really been reduced to making lists of the fun things to do during the break? To scheduling my supposedly free time? Enough is enough I say! No more lists.


Granted, I know where else this impulse to catalog all the leisure aspirations comes from. Stress management. Ever since my undergrad days, during exam season, I’d run through a list, in my head, of all the things I’d do when exams were over. The list seemed endless just like the exam period, and yet, when exams actually ended, I was at a loss as to what to do with ALL THAT TIME. As as result, I ended up feeling like a failure for not only not enjoying my break enough, but not even remembering what that enjoyment should entail according to my own self from a few days back. Hence, the perpetual stress-time promise to make a list of ALL THE ENJOYABLE THINGS TO BE DONE DURING A BREAK. But not this time. No lists.

So, instead I will take a break from my best habits that have anything to do with work. Breaks, by definition, should be different from work, so I will attempt to structure this one as little as possible, rather than make it into a game of tick-that-line-on-the-list. I will read books at random from the collection I’ve amassed throughout the term in hopes of just such an opportunity (I might not even add them to the running list of books I’ve read this year). I will pick up my knitting, but set no goals as to finishing any projects. I will peruse recipes at random, and cook whatever I feel like. I will get together with friends, and go to wherever my fancy strikes at that moment. Hell, I might even turn on the TV during the day.

Just like that: no pressure! When’s the last time you allowed yourself to sloth? Think you’ll join me in spirit? What are some things that you’ve always promised yourself you’d do during a break–do share! And then go and ENJOY THE BREAK!

*Why, yes, I did just use sloth as a verb. I am claiming neologizing as a PhD superpower!

2 thoughts on “License to sloth*

  1. Thanks for this, Margrit! We seem to have a pattern here on H&E–we list all the things we want to do over the winter/summer breaks, and then we come back and mourn all the things on our lists that we didn't get done. I'm joining you in not doing that this year! I have a mental list of things I'd like to do (make use of my AGO membership, go see the Nutcracker for the millionth time, see as many Christmas movies as possible on the big screen), but I'm absolutely going to play it by ear. And if I decide what I really want to do is marathon Murder She Wrote on Netflix, I'm totally doing that. Cheers to sloth!

    And also–we should have a winter break pizza date!


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