When I have time off, I wander.
Wandering, I find, is vastly underrated. To me, its medicine; salve for a sore body and a restricted mind. On the precious days when I'm not required to punch the clock at work, I tend to spend entire days wandering.
I wander physically; moving from room to room in my tiny Victorian cottage, picking up one project, abandoning it, and sliding into another. I wander emotionally, which the workday routine rarely allows. Emotional wandering comes with its own warning, and can be risky for the chronically melancholy. I don't tend towards malaise, however, so on days such as this when I can embrace my emotions instead of repelling them, I delight in letting myself enjoy whatever silly, middle-age sentiment might bump up against me.
Perhaps the finest part of these loose, carefree days is watching my spirit amble into dusty corners. Settling comfortably, it turns to observe others, listen to their chatter, and muse upon useless and trivial but gleefully captivating concepts and ideas. My rebel intellect refuses to be corralled on vacation days. I drive along on unimportant errands, listening with all my soul to whatever music happens to take my fancy, foolishly gazing out the car windows at the landscape rolling by. Like a confined claustrophobic, the thoughts inside me gather agitatedly and burst out, demanding to be heard. I quiet them brusquely, outwardly annoyed with their forwardness, but secretly thrilled to have such a substantial stable of active voices that ask only to be given the light of day.
A day or so of wandering is all it takes to refresh my soul and bolster the more analytical side of my personality. Its really a necessary kind of day for someone like me. If I don't have a day to meander freely, I become uptight and resentful- qualities which I find damaging and destructive. Of course, I don't always have the freedom to indulge in these delightfully unfettered hours, so coping mechanisms are important. Fortunately these little bumps are few and far between.
The fevered pace of today's rabbit race can be ugly. Constant pressure can result in a black and sinister critical mass for those caught unawares. The human spirit has an amazing adaptability developed over countless generations of evolutionary biology. This ability to ride out rocky times is sometimes referred to as "fight or flight". But much like an engine that is driven too far and too fast with little or no maintenance, the consequences can be dire. The fighter will be too exhausted to fly.
One popular slogan of years past was "Just say NO". I like to borrow that phrase sometimes. I "just say NO" sometimes. I hope others do too. To me, its so important that I requested a standing prescription from my internal physician:
Take a day of Wandering and call me in the morning.