Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day: A day to slow our labor

I love my three day weekend. I decided, in honor of In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore, to plan nothing for this weekend. I would let the days unfold and savor the slowness of no obligations. My only goal was to finish reading the book, but only if that matched my mood of the moment.

The decision has been fruitful. On the third day of the weekend, I am relaxed. I napped right on my couch when I felt like it. I watched a tremendous amount of US Open tennis coverage and still laugh at every IBM commercial and every John McEnroe dispute resolution. I have let my real world evolve without forcing it.

In the process of just being, I experienced a few moments of genuine desire to do a load of laundry, weed, draw, write, read and handle emails. But, it was not forced out of a sense of duty. It was a different style and pace. There are many chores I need to do. But first I took the time to relax. Only when I truly wanted to do any work did I let myself do it. I told myself, yes, there would be time. When the time is right, it will happen. This major step is counter to my German Russian upbringing. Years of overwork produced this breakthrough.

Rest needs to be the focus of Labor Day for the everyday worker. Labor Day has been a national holiday since 1894. Oregon, a forward minded state, was the first state to celebrate it. The Central Credit Union of New York and New Jersey were advocates of the holiday. So, over a century ago, the need to pause from our daily work lives was deemed essential. What would those folks think of our 24/7 work ethic today?

So, slow down. Just sit. Listen to classical music, read a slow paced book, plan a slow cooked meal. Let the relatives and neighbors keep up appearances. Sit back and relax. Silence is golden. That is, unless you have an exciting tennis match like Roddick and Berdych to watch and enjoy. Let the obligations go. There is enough time to relax. There will be time later to do. Labor Day means rest.

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