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The Zen of Slack



First off,  I wanted to say sorry for not posting this week, I’ve been under the weather, and had an exam to write, and a relative to send off to Malta, and nothing new is happening in the garden, other than champion weeds. I’ve been busy, really busy, balefully glaring around the house and yard at all the chores that need doing and that are decidedly not getting done. Which inspired this post.


The world is divided into many dualities of people, but two of the most common that I encounter are the doers and the slackers. I admire the doers, I really do, they are the people that get it done, the putterers, the fixers and the workers. They are the ones that can’t sit still, they must be tinkering, fixing, polishing and improving. They are great to have on hand – they are often pretty organized, fully domesticated, they clean and cook and repair like Martha Stewart on crack. They are awesome.


Then there are the dedicated slackers. They like to sleep and do it like an Olympic medal is at stake.  They love lounging time, in front of the tube or with a book, and will dedicate great lengths to the pursuit of comfort. They are happy chilling out with a drink in the evening, feeling like they earned it after working all day, while their partner has hours of energy to spare and wants to get some weeding in, or maybe run a quick marathon.


I fall somewhere in the middle and it causes some conflict for me. My nature falls firmly into the lazy camp, I am not a person that thrives on being busy, and if I have more than one commitment on a weeknight, I panic about the sleep I’d miss. I love leisure more than just about anything, and I often wish I could clone myself, twice, to do all the things that need doing that I don’t feel like doing.  Sometimes I attempt to go against my better nature and force myself, literally kick myself, out of the house into the great yonder to try a new activity, or do something outdoorsy, or just go for a beer on a weeknight.  It often pays off too – I took up skiing last winter, and discovered an amazing new sport that I did not for a minute, think I’d like.  But too often I get worn out just by the act of existing, sitting for eight hours at work, plus a long commute and arrive at home wiped out, ready for a nap and an easy dinner. Even doing the things I enjoy sometimes requires a mental kick to get rolling.


However, that lazyness stops a few steps short of the kingdom of slack. For one, I love me a clean house, and while I’d love to relax while the dishes are piling up, the laundry is overflowing and the floors need vaccuming, I can’t. I’d rather suck it up, sacrifice some time and get it done, so I can relax with a clean conscience until it all starts to build again. Another area where it breaks down is career. A truly lazy person is not very ambitious. Of course they would enjoy the benefits of an easy jobs with a  great paycheck, but if it takes too much work to get there they won’t bother. I bother. Part of it is professional pride and a part of it is the very tangible increase in quality of life that money can buy. Let’s face it, whether you’re earning a little or a lot, you’re likely working the same 35-40 hrs a week, so why not earn more? And while I love vacations, my idea of a good time is not drinking by the pool. I have a deep desire to see the place that I’m visiting. To soak in the atmosphere that shapes its citizens, to see the ruins and houses and cafes, to visit a store and a farmers market, to explore local flavors and see a glimpse of their lives. At a leisurely pace, of course.


Sometimes I walk the line between leisure and ‘getting crap done’ just fine. Sometimes I’m composed and in the moment, which is the only way to live of course, as I do the household chores, maintain the garden or plan a weekend. Other times the balance gets skewed, and I chafe with frustration at the demands on my time, which I want to do spend doing nothing. On some level I realize that all the little running around we do is ultimately meaningless, just a way to stay busy, distract yourself, and take time away from simply being. Other times it feels like life is not to be wasted, and I should just manage time a bit more effectively to keep it running smoothly and ultimately do more, and get more out of doing.  And I envy the happy tinkerers who itch to clean the house, organize the pantry and do some canning while they’re at it, cause that gene passed me right by.


8 comments to The Zen of Slack

  • I believe I’m in lazy in the things that I don’t like to do. I’ll go and go and go when it comes to the things I love like cooking, hiking, doing activities with my kids, travel, seeing all the things I can see and making time for friends and family.

    The things like housekeeping & yard work I find to be thankless because as soon as you’re done it’s all coming undone all over again.

    I often wish I like doing everything, even the chores.

  • Very interesting, Tatiana! I think I am also somewhere in between.

  • I’m mostly a doer, always on the go, constantly searching for something to do. But I do have slack moments, especially after I collapse from exhaustion 🙂

  • Sounds like a busy week. I hope you’re feeling better.

    Nothing wrong with some down time.

  • admin

    @ Brown-Eyed Girl- you are definitely on to something – I am at my laziest with chores and must-do’s rather than hobbies and fun. Although sometimes I run out of steam even for that. But chores are indeed ungratifying and evil.

    @ Tatyana – I think most people are, I just hate losing the balance, that’s all 🙂

  • admin

    @ Water-Roots – I envy you! Just to reiterate. Can you please bottle your energy and send it here please? 🙂

    @ Teena in TO – I am indeed feeling better. Nothing is wrong with down time at all, I indulge in it freely and often 🙂

  • Jean

    I think I’m a slacker with maturity. My true personality would be forever content in the sun with a book and a bevvie or any activity that I can do at a leisurely pace. But, as a somewhat mature adult, I know the icky stuff needs to get done AND whether we like it or not, those tasks build character. My Dad is just plain lazy so I think the difference is that I get the necessary stuff done and he doesn’t. My Mom and Sister are doers. The down time for them is about as frequent as the bursts of energy are for me. We all have our place in the circle of life!

  • admin

    @ Jean – I agree, you are quite mature. I drop the ball in the balancing act quite often still. I’m not sure about the character building – I should have will of steel by now, given how often I must kick myself to be useful. But I’ll believe you, it’s better than the alternative… The weird thing is, both my mom and dad are doers. My brother and I… not so much.

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