Down Time


While getting ready to go on vacation I have been pondering about what kind of down time I want to have. My preference has changed many times over the years.

When I was little, vacation time was a busy time for doing things and going places.

I remember playing licence plate bingo on long car rides. How exciting it was when we saw a licence plate from Florida or some other faraway place! I don’t recall at what age we started playing that game, but it was a great way to identify patterns in letters and to understand that the letters meant the name of a place.

As a teenager, I just wanted to spend my spare time reading or watching TV, even on summer vacation. In my early teens I remember reading novels and then making my mother read them too. I thought sharing the books I could identify with would help her to understand me.

I realize now how patient she was in reading and then talking about those stories with me. Often her interpretation of the story was different than mine, and through our discussion our comprehension grew.

During my young adult life I wanted to spend any down time with my friends while learning all the social contexts of relationships.

Becoming a parent changed my perspective of down time yet again. Instead of leisure time it became any time baby was napping or when the kids were finally in bed for the night. “Down time” was used for finishing chores which were more difficult to do when the little ones were awake.

Now my daughter has left the nest, my husband and I are both working long hours, and down time is often used for unwinding because we are tired. I still enjoy reading each evening, relaxing my mind and continuing to build my knowledge about all kinds of things, people and places.

This vacation it will be interesting to see what we do with our down time. At least it is nice to think we have a choice.

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