What’s your idea of a perfect day off: one during which you can quietly relax, doing nothing, or one with one fun activity lined up after the other? Tell us how you’d spend your time.
As a person who has been planning recreation and leisure activities as a profession for the last 35 years, answering this question should be a no-brainer. Because much of my leisure time has been spent outdoors, sitting here as winter starts makes me really dig deep into what I would do on a day off.
A little background: My day job as a leisure services practitioner requires me to plan, coordinate, provide and deliver recreation and leisure activities to the citizens of the city I live in. For the last 14 years I have organized and provided a full-service aquatics program to a population of 400,000 people. We program 22 aquatics facilities during the hot summer months. Service delivery of all these swimming pools requires hiring at least 150 part-time lifeguards and their care and feeding for 15 weeks including training and evaluation. The programming aspect includes offering swimming lessons, managing a youth swim team program and providing wellness opportunities for adults in lap swimming and water aerobics.
Sounds fun, you say? Sure, for the participants. During the summer and the three months leading up to opening pools, I have very little time for leisure. In fact, I work so much overtime working weekends and being on-call 24/7 for emergencies, I am lucky to get a day off! That all being said, all I want to do when I get home from work is put a little sour cream and chives on top of my head as I morph into a couch potato!
“Physician, Heal Thyself?” Yes! As a provider of leisure, I needed to become a connoisseur of leisure. Over the years, I have put my organizational powers to work and have calendared and carved out leisure time for myself.
Sparkling or still?
On colder, winter days, I drag my arse out of bed at 6:15am and go do my work out at the gym at least three days a week. Evenings, I come home and do a few chores then sit with my laptop and indulge in blogging or other online distractions. Weekends, however, I will try to schedule something “productive.” A typical Saturday would be to sleep til 7:30am, have coffee and distract myself with online fun. Late morning if the weather is nice I will take my two doggies for a slog (slow jog). I may catch up on some of my pre-recorded TV shows or watch a movie. My husband likes to cook so we end up eating something delicious for dinner. So Saturdays, now, fit into the “Still” category.
By April, everything changes and the sparkling begins. We are ready to move our trailer to the Delta campground and get ready for the windsurfing season. Weekends in April and May are typically spent windsurfing or SUPing and getting our “base-camp” ready. A Saturday here is spent waking up to coffee, talking with other campers as they wend their way around the campground anticipating the wind conditions for the day. At some point we get our windsurf gear together and sail for 3-4 hours. By late afternoon, we get dinner started and the partying begins until pretty late. Our next door camper always has some rockin music playing. This is basically the Saturday schedule all summer when I am not working.
But with retirement looming in a matter of weeks (at this writing), EVERYTHING is going to change. And I bloody cannot wait!
Sparkling or Still? Yes, please, I’ll take some of both!