Of Labor and Leisure


Yesterday was Labor Day, a day set aside in the United States to honor the working man and to take break from the rigors of the work-a-day world. (Internationally labor days are usually on May 1, but not wanting it to be associated with the socialist movement, President Grover Cleveland supported a September date for the holiday.) Labor Day typically is regarded as the last Hurrah! of summer. From now on the days get shorter, the air has a little more bite, the trees turn colors and lose there leaves, and spectators transition from spending Sunday afternoons watching the world’s greatest sport (baseball) to it’s second greatest (football). As a student, primary, secondary, or collegiate, it was always a bittersweet day; sure, great BBQ’s and parties, but the fun and games end here for another nine months.

It’s funny how summers and three-day weekends change as you grow up. Once they were carefree days of minimal responsibility, sleeping in late, staying up late, spontaneously heading to the beach or a movie. Now they’re, “Ooooh, three-day weekend! Now I can finally get to those weeds, have the oil changed, and get a haircut.” Or “Ooooh, summer time! Finally the weather will be hot enough for me to dig that drainage ditch.” Or “Oooooh, finally some time to devote to my self-imposed homebased business that I spend all my freetime on that may or may not be making me any actual money.” Wait…that’s not funny! That’s sad!

I spent my Labor Day laboring. For a solid three days I sat at my computer and edited the last big project of the summer, all the while my left eye feeling like someone was poking it with a large pointy stick. And I didn’t quite finish. These days summers are the busy time. Most of the videos I do are for summer-type events (graduations, weddings, etc.) and church softball commissioneering is a lot more work than it sounds like. And this summer I even hired myself out as a laborer in another country. Perpahs you’ve heard of the Pillar de Muerte? So the lazy days of summer have long passed me by. But that’s ok.

It’s ok because things that would’ve seemed anathema to be as a youth I know find a certain amount of pleasure in. I enjoy doing work around my house. I enjoy working on someone else’s video. Where at 16, I once felt the sweet sensation of lazy satisfaction after a Labor Day of nintendo playing and channel-flipping, after a similar day at 28 I feel like a tremendous loser. As the Apostle Paul said, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. (I Cor. 13:11)”

While I havn’t totally left my childish ways behind me, as Jen I’m sure would tell you, I still manage to find plenty of time for video games, I have learned that there are a few more important, grown-up things to do with days off from the day-job like digging drainage ditches, cleaning the garage, contemplating the loss of ones hair, and working on graduation videos. Growing up is hard.

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4 thoughts on “Of Labor and Leisure

  1. kludge

    An excellent thought. It sounds as though your labors have not been in vain. -Love the picture!

    I feel like sometimes I wouldn’t be able to explain these things to my younger self. If I showed up out of thin air, it would be more disturbing to him that I do like finish the yard work and that I am happy with going to bed at 10:00 some nights.

  2. J Crew

    It is weird to think that every spare hour is done doing homework, something that was not in my vocab, say 5 years ago. I will say though that yesterday I ate like crazy and I played video games. I’m so not ashamed.

  3. SJ

    Since I am still in school – I did take a break, looking forward to a 3 day weekend, but you are right, I did spend my time doing grown up things – getting groceries, laundry, etc. You are right, growing up is hard! However, I am thankful for friends I can hang out with and sometimes try to forget that there is things like laundry to do! We all need a break sometimes!

  4. jenylu

    I think my 16 year old would find these musings rather depressing, but as his mother, your thoughts give me hope! :)

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