The over-achiever in me was upset. The hard worker, who has long prided himself on his work ethic and productive time management skills, had wasted an entire day.
I had a day off from work and family obligations, the first in months, and I did nothing. I let the vacation day slip between my fingers and wash away like the tide rushes into the beach and pulls a seashell out to sea.
I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things that I could’ve gotten done: errands to the post office and pharmacy; calling around to local plumbers to fix the leak in the upstairs bathroom; sitting down to read the book I’ve been meaning to read for months, going out for my weekly long run or a myriad of other tasks.
In contrast, the laid back slacker in me laughed it off. How did I spend my mental health day? I slept-in until I couldn’t sleep anymore; tuned into to see the male and female winners of the Boston Marathon; gorged on bad TV and a long lunch at Five Guys Burgers and Fries; and spent my day without a care in the world.
As I rushed out the door to go to work the next day and quickly ground to a halt, waiting for a minor fender-bender to clear-up, I thought a little deeper about my “wasted day.”
I’m no doctor and I’m certainly no psychologist, but I’ve come to believe we need the occasional wasted day. We need them to remind us why we work and why we take on inordinate amounts of stress. We need them to get us through the challenging times, the moments when we have a million and one things on our plate and no time to get them done. We need them too to remind us what’s important in life — things like our faith, family and friends, and our own health.
Yes, I could have been more productive with my time. I could have started on the next honey-do project or even checked off something important on my own to-do list, but in the words of the immortal Ferris Bueller from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Of course, the next time I schedule a vacation day, I might switch out Five Guys for a run. But you just never know. In keeping with the day, my best course of action will be to keep it “fast and loose.”