labor day 2023 and restful time off
Happy (?) Labor Day! It feels so weird to sleep in on a Monday and not have to work. It only happens a few times a year, and each time reminds me just how much happier and less stressed I'd be if I didn't have work to worry about.
This long weekend I've been thinking a lot about taking restful time off. It might seem deceptively easy to get rest—just don't do anything—but in practice I've found restful time off hard to come by. For example, I wouldn't call a long weekend spent entirely on the couch very restful. I would get antsy and bored, which usually means succumbing to long naps during the day, sleeping late, and struggling to get going come the return of the workweek.
On the other hand, if I spend my entire weekend out and about, I'll surely have a lot of fun, but I run the risk of burning myself out even more. The most restful time off for me has to strike a balance between activity and inactivity. I think I spent this three-day weekend well; on Saturday and Sunday I skated, played sports, walked trails, and visited an art museum with friends. And I'm spending this Monday lounging about, playing piano, catching up on emails, reading, and writing. In comparison with most of my friends, I prefer to spend most of my time off out and about with friends. I'm happiest when I have plans on my calendar that leave me tired enough to sleep early without issue at the end of the day, but not so spent I'm feeling the aftereffects the next day.
I have a vacation with a large group of friends coming up in the next month. As we've planned out what we want to do, our differing appetites for action (and comfort with uncertainty) in our vacation have become apparent. I used to be the type to want to pack vacations chock-full of plans—I spent only one day in Paris and managed to see most of the major tourist attractions while walking 15 miles—but the older I get the more I want to spend vacation time relaxing. Part of this is that I simply have less energy than I used to (and that I didn't have to deal with returning to work after a grueling trip before), but also that I've started to see the merits in playing it by ear. You'll never truly get to see it all anyway, and besides, leaving space for serendipity is fun (and the best way to challenge your assumptions and get out of your comfort zone).
There are seven of us going on this trip, and the burden of planning has largely fallen on me and a close friend of mine (naturally, the most type A ones of the bunch). While I've thoroughly enjoyed planning with him (and am eternally grateful for the hours he's put into researching with me), I find myself wishing that the rest of the group would reciprocate our effort. I don't mind planning (and in fact I'm quite happy to take the reins), but getting timely responses to our inquiries seems like the least they could do to make our job easier.
I've always struggled to manage my resentment when situations don't feel fair to me, be it in friendships, relationships, or group projects. Some of the people who have drawn my ire the most have been those I've adjudged to have taken advantage of my generosity or my hard work. (And some of them have certainly deserved it.) But in situations like the case at hand, I'm starting to recognize that my resentment is unfair and largely unwarrranted. In the complexity of real life an even split is hard to come by; often someone will have to shoulder more than their fair share. And as the most opinionated member of the group, I should instead be glad that it's me, and grateful to the rest of them for entrusting me with the planning. As one member of the group put it, by completely checking out of the planning process, our passive friends give up a.) their say on what we do, and b.) their right to complain about the plans. And as long as they're okay with this, then that's okay! Let the leaders lead and the followers follow.
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