I believe in leisure. In heavy breathing, and free living, and having nothing to do. In setting aside a time slot solely for vegetation, for taking up space.
The walls of my high school are lined with anxiety. While nothing is outwardly stated, it is common knowledge that many rules go hand in hand with the term college fever. Hope for the best but don’t get too hopeful. Work twice as hard as the person to your left, they are your competition. If you’re not busy, you’re not trying hard enough. SAT and AP and Act are no longer basic acronyms, but a key component to a high school student’s lifestyle. Whether we want to be or not, we are engulfed in what we must want and what we must do.
But living for the future is tiring and evidence for that is all over the faces of my peers. An average encounter with a stressed high school student will guarantee you a meeting with the deceptive and the distracted. There have been many days when I have turned to a classmate and asked the casual question of “How are you?”, and while their mouths spew out the word “okay”, their minds send out the message of not okay, of “I’m curious as to when I will be okay”.
There are two things the class of 2008 holds in common: heavy eyelids and fear. Fear of the future, of failure. When the classic college hopeful isn’t busy studying, he or she is busy worrying. And worrying is equally as tiring as staying up late only to wake up early.
Sure, there are exceptions. There is the bunch that can’t care and the few that are too confident to care. Still, on Friday afternoon the students of my high school are all facing the same direction, that of the clock. The minute before 3:16, the time of our dismissal, is the longest, most painful time of an overworked week. But the relief I feel at the moment that bell rings never gets old; the hours so carefully designated for free time are the hours that save me from an otherwise mundane week of calculations and bubbling in circles.
Although it may sound petty, living for the weekends, I believe that loving leisure does not mean being lazy. I find a certain honesty in admitting that there are moments when, yes, I like to stop. Stop moving, stop stressing, stop planning and talking and doing. While it does take repeated reminders to convince my mind to slow down sometimes, I believe that the moments in which I succeed in true leisure are a necessary rejuvenation. I believe that those are the hours I will forever cherish.
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