“Whoever enrolled me in the school of life…
didn’t schedule enough recess.” ~ Peppermint Pattie
Do you ever get to feeling like Peppermint Pattie? Are you all slumped down in your desk? Can you hear the responsible grown-up people doing their “wha, wha, wha, wha, wha,” droning? Do you find yourself staring blankly off into the distance with not a single thought in your head?
Yeah. Me too.
I’m pretty sure I need more recess scheduled in. Life’s school has knocked me on my butt big-time this past month or three and I’m tired of the learning curve. I’m afraid the road’s still aimed uphill though.
I think about what kids do at recess and wonder how I can get the same benefits without hanging upside down on the monkey bars. I’m pretty sure I’d probably pass out when the blood rushed to my head.
Boy, do I remember some amazing times spent on various playgrounds. Perks galore happen at recess:
- fresh air
- screaming time
- time to chat with friends
- letting boys know you like them without letting them know you like them
- figuring out if the boys like you without directly asking
- dodging skills
- throwing skills
- hiding skills
- how to stay warm in a dress when it’s fifteen degrees
- bathroom break
- getting a drink or two
- tether ball mastery
- figuring out when to tattle and when not to tattle
- being glad to get to sit down in the desk again
- figuring out the whole being part of a group/or not thing
- making plans for later
Admittedly, since I’m married, there’s a couple of those I don’t have to worry about. And since I live in Phoenix the question really isn’t about staying warm as much as it is how to stay cool in the summer while wearing clothing.
The other thirteen items seem important for navigating life’s school as a grownup. So if I take time to chillax, veg, cool it, take a load off, rest and relax, recreate and even play, in other words, have recess time, I’d probably get some of the same benefits as those kids screaming out on the school playground. At least, logically, you’d think so.
I’ve been known to scream, but not lately. Mostly my screaming comes out in the form of crying at random unexpected times. Maybe I should try scream therapy? Or maybe not. Of course, by attending a sporting event I’d have a good excuse to scream without making anyone feel bad. That is, if I don’t scream mean things at the ref or the coach. Which I don’t. Usually.
What do I really do that’s like recess? Hmmm.
- I recently started back at the gym a couple of times a week, playing Pickleball. That’s very recess-ish. I come away hot, sweaty, tired, laughing and energized. Great way to start a day.
- Walks, I keep meaning to add those back in to my mornings. Mostly, my walks are spur of the moment with MSH rather late in the evening. Recess-ish? Sure! Chalk it up to the boys/girls relationship thing.
- I belong to a book club. We chat, we mingle, we nosh. Feels very recessy.
- My writer’s group has undertones of recess because I LOVE writing, it’s actually fun, enjoyable, relaxing and energy producing. I’m pursuing a long-delayed passion when I write and this amazing group of women encourage me in that pursuit. Definitely recess.
- Reading. For fun. No assignment involved. Feels like a vacation, an escape, a decadent pleasure in its physical nothingness. A nice contrast to the constant motion of the rest of my day. YES, another recess moment.
- Sitting on my front porch swing and watching the world go by. My ultimate recess pastime lately. R&R at its best. Does watching others play at the park count as recess? Does relaxing and swinging forward and back letting my mind wander count? I think so.
- Time on Facebook, playing online Scrabble and online Scramble all give me brief moments, okay, sometimes more than moments, of respite from the everyday non-stop to-do list of life. I laugh at a bizarre conversational thread, see what my sibs and friends have been up to, catch a quick cat or dog video, score a pathetic twenty-two points to my cousin’s fifty-six word score, spend two minutes finding words among a square of sixteen letters. A nice mental break. A score for the recess bracket.
- One forty-five minute segment of a TV series a day. That feels decadent. That feels like sneaking out of class early and spending extra time on the playground when I shouldn’t. Why? I don’t know. Something about staring at the screen mindlessly letting stuff filter in? I shouldn’t feel that way. There’s just SO MUCH to do besides sit there. And I rarely feel satisfied, relaxed or energized by that particular pastime.
Other things I could do that would rest and relax my mind and heart, but that I haven’t done lately: Listen to music. Dance in the kitchen. Garden. Bake. Nap. Camp. Hike. Bike. Eat dinner outside. Try something new. Plan a real vacation.
What am I doing still sitting here? I’m pretty sure I just heard the recess bell.
What do you do for R&R?
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