The last days of summer, wrapping up the imposed leisure and what we did with it

As summer dwindles to an end and leaves the tumult of this year’s events settled, I cannot help but wonder if without them would we have ever had the pleasure of lazy purposelessness. The kind of boredom a lover seduces you with, wrapping you slowly, so slowly that you do not recognize the exact turning moment when you’ve left your swirling daily routine and gave yourself to healing calmness. It is a different form of wellness, a self-induced yoga of the mind that you yourself are able to summon, a self-healing ritual that should be periodically performed.

Photo by Christopher Campbell

Stressed and constantly busy, our lives are emotionally stretched. Modernity managed to bring with it the kind of speed that the industrialists were gearing toward yet never grasped the full consequences of its force. The never-ending to-do lists, the need to work more than enjoy, the exhaustion that this brings that leaves its mark on leisure time diminishing your capacity to enjoy it.

Photo by Madeleine Ragsdale

According to some statistics, our current leisure time is about 27% to 30% per day. Men have about 40 minutes per day more leisure time than women while they both spend about 70% of it with other people. Men tend to spend more of their leisure time alone indicating the women have suffered more from self-isolation than men.
Despite the self-isolation and the tremendous pressure we still experience now as an after-shock, this summer has been for many a blessing in disguise. A unique moment in time where those of us that passed through it healthy, landed in a different reality. Despite the difficulties, the stress, the financial problems that most of us have gone and may still be going through, the fact that we’ve been deprived of the routines that we enjoy raised opportunities for new ones. But before those can take shape, a break needs to happen, and this is what we’ve got, if only we could recognize it.
Photo by Apostolos Vamvouras

We’ve been transported in time to the place where summers were long, breathable, boring, where languishing hours of bird watching and laughter would seemingly never end, where the sun will leave its glowing mark on our skins. Dinner scents would slide up our nostrils giving hunger a whole new experience, that of pleasure and anticipation, the only excitement between the morning and the evening sun.

Photo by Apostolos Vamvouras

As September comes up on the horizon and August heat loses steam, my mind went to the nostalgic world in a book that I’ve read as a child, a world where things were the way they were independent of events around, where pandemics would’ve not made a dent, where the cosmic nothingness of beautiful living was the exuberant everything of the everyday.

Photo by Angelo Pantazis

I have cherished that world almost in parallel with living it. The book is called Recollections from Childhood by a Romanian author named Ion Creanga. Written in the memories style, it is a meandering narrative of the aimlessly pleasurable summers of youth as it follows specific accounts of the author’s own childhood in a social context of the first half of the XIXth century Moldavia. The slight restlessness I had when reading it then, pages and pages of too much of this beautiful nothingness that I found sometimes hard to literary-digest yet no problem living it is now gone and I can fully appreciate it.

It is time to read it again. Click here for the English translation:

What is your book, or movie, or personal experience that made it possible to cherish instead of despising the months that passed?

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