Coming off of a frenzied academic year, my idea of leisure is usually not to do anything at all. To vegetate in front of the TV, sleep late, and have my food brought to me on convenient trays. It's then that I dream about hammocks and Adirondack chairs and beverages served with little umbrellas and just ... existing.
But faced with the actual practice of such leisure, I am usually a failure. Dating back to my teenagerhood, I've never understood how people actually manage to do nothing. I mean really nothing -- like "laying out" on the beach, as we used to call it. Hours spent just laying there in the sun, not sleeping, not reading, not ... doing anything? I tried sometimes, but I always found myself trying to sneak a book in there. Even listening to music wasn't enough for me to feel like the leisure was at a satisfying level of minimal activity.
So it's not surprising that I've taken up knitting, since it's the perfect compromise between doing something and doing nothing. Now my relaxing no-goal days have at least that much accomplishment. I often find myself at my most rejuvenated when I've done more -- organized something, cleaned something out, built something, crossed something off my to-do list. The transition between leisure and work is made much easier when you get a little of the preparatory material for work out of the way during your supposed downtime, like watching a piece of media you have to write about, or coming up with a framework for something you have to produce, or even just dividing your work time into segments so the decision about what to work on when is already made before you start.
Tomorrow morning we're getting a delivery of IKEA furniture to form the basis of my new crafting space. I highly doubt I'll get any of it assembled before next weekend, given the relatively tight evening TV and writing schedule we keep combined with the kids' summer camp commutes making for a later start than we're used to. Part of me resents having to devote half a day of my unstructured leisure to assembly; but part of me relishes spending concentrated, extended time on something I'm so looking forward to. If it works out, I imagine I could end the weekend far more satisfied with myself and the way I whiled away my time than usual.