Upgrading leisure time

Despite the huge snow cloud stuck over Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil somehow saw his shadow on Tuesday, predicting 6 more weeks of winter. Which is just as well since we’ve got something approaching a foot of snow on the ground. “It’s spring now!” would not have been believable.

Groundhog Day has entered the cultural lexicon as much for the 1993 movie as for the groundhog’s actual antics. The movie’s plot proposes one of those great existential questions: how would you live if you had to live a particular day over and over again?

I probably wouldn’t choose February 2, 2021 as my day to live over and over again, but it was not bad. Indeed, it was pretty good. A key reason it was good was that I decided to “upgrade” some of my leisure time activities. This made the discretionary time I had for the day a lot more fun.

Some of this was because, hey — snow day! We tend not to have a snow cover all winter so it’s fun when it’s fresh. We went for a family sledding expedition in the afternoon. This was quick — in the car at 3:20, home for 4:00 calls — but it was really fun to go careening down a big and snowy hill (adults too!)

I tromped through the snow in the backyard when I had another 20 minute break. I don’t love shoveling, but marching through unbroken snow feels a little magical.

I seized 20 minutes when my husband had the baby and before I planned to start dinner to sit in the tub and read a magazine. I bought a new tub as part of our master bathroom renovation a few years ago and I had the thought the other day that my 6-year-old and 1-year-old are the ones who use it most. Enough of that! I kicked the tub toys out and enjoyed a quick soak.

After putting the baby to bed, I made serious progress on the 1000-piece puzzle I’m doing. The particular section I did was flowers — a colorful escape from a snowy day.

And finally, after the other children were in their rooms, I read some poetry. I’d been thinking of Li-Young Lee’s poem “From Blossoms,” with its image of peaches, so I went to look that up and then read some of his other work while doing so. I read a lot, but I don’t read a lot of poetry, so that made my reading time feel more memorable.

The day had its frustrations, of course (so much shoveling…and the usual measure of kid woes). But there was a lot of fun, too. Some moments of tranquility…even on a Tuesday.

When you decide to “upgrade” your leisure time, what do you do?

In other news: Another leisure time upgrade — listening to a podcast! I was a guest on one of my regular listens, How to Money, on Monday. I was also a guest on Movie Therapy with Rafer & Kristen, which you can listen to here! What should a girl who loved What Not to Wear watch next?

14 thoughts on “Upgrading leisure time

  1. I generally have a master-list of what I might do I had an opportunity to do something extra fun. That saves me the wasteful effort of figuring out what I might do when the time presents itself. It’s something like how you often write about “planing for spontaneity.” I write what could do solo versus with my daughter versus with friends – sometimes I write down the names of friends who I know would be keen on specific activities.

    For example, a few weeks ago I had an unexpected opening for solo time on Monday evening. It was still school holidays for my daughter and she went to an impromptu sleepover at a friend’s place. I knew that a friend had wanted to watch a movie in the cinemas – something I’m delighted to say we can do in Australia :). I checked with him immediately if he was free that evening and we went for the movie. The movie and the “gold tickets” experience were both spectacular.

      1. @Connie – I know the feeling. We in Melbourne were in the toughest lock-down in the world for most of last year. So when the cinemas opened up, I started taking every chance to watch movies there.
        Hold tight… I’m sure you too will be able to do that soon. 🙂

    1. My first job out of college, there was a discount movie theater near my apartment that was $1 on Tuesdays and so a friend and I would often stop on the way home and see a movie! As newly minted adults, it felt like such a glamorous thing to do on a Tuesday!

  2. I love the idea of upgrading leisure time. You have inspired me to get back into puzzles. I think the thing that was stopping me is that we have a pretty small house with no table space where a puzzle can sit out. But I recently discovered puzzle boards, which would allow me to put it away each night! What a concept!

  3. I’ve never been much of a shopper, but in the last couple months, going to the store by myself and leisurely browsing (even if I only buy what is on my list) has felt so luxurious! I apparently need to get out more! Eating dinner out (in before times) on a weeknight is an upgrade. Really doing anything outside the house, on a school night (that is not an activity) always feels like a treat! Saving a book I’m looking forward to or a special treat (or both) for some quiet time on the couch is always an upgrade!

  4. I am six months pregnant in a very cold state and baths have become my NUMBER ONE winter leisure activity. I bought a waterproof phone case (and a floating thermometer to make sure the water isn’t too hot) and I sit in the bubbles watching reality TV on my iPhone several evenings a week. It’s great.

    1. @Torey- that sounds lovely! And good on the waterproof phone case. I have learned the hard way on that one…

      1. I bought a new car last week after deciding that I spend tons of time in it driving kids to and fro and we don’t anticipate flying for the next year or two. Massaging seats make it a true upgrade, even if sitting in the pick up line really isn’t “leisure.”
        Puzzles have been a fun was to reclaim time at home that’s just for me since the kids or husband rarely want to help. The other big future upgrade was that I planted hundreds of flower bulbs and seeds last weekend that should make for bouquets all summer long.

        1. @Calee- I like the idea of massaging seats. The heated seats function is really key right now up north!

  5. Reading all the life stories posted here and Laura’s kid but business woman life is super enjoyable time! My kids are grown now. I made a list 2 years ago of elderly friends that I want to visit before it’s too late. My list is on hold for the pandemic, but I plan one Saturday afternoon per month to visit, taking along my embroidery work. Pure bliss!

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