Free time is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? Some people were lucky enough to benefit from last Monday’s holiday; nothing takes the chill out of late winter quite like a three day weekend. A whole day with no work obligations is blissful on paper, but some people have a knack for filling that free time up with personal obligations. So do you savor your days off, or stack them full of chores? The two sides of this coupled coin tend to trend in opposite directions.
She Said: I don’t really know how this happens, because I love vegging out more than anyone! When I first find out that my husband and I have a day off together, I get very “pie in the sky” about all the fun, time-off activities we will no doubt indulge in. I fantasize about movie marathons or a day trip to a neighboring city or some sort of outdoor adventure if the weather is pleasant. But for some reason, as the day actually approaches, I find myself adding in little chores and errands here or there. It doesn’t hurt to scoot to the dry cleaners or make a quick run to the grocery store. If I schedule a dentist appointment in the morning, that won’t take up too much of our time, will it? Before I know what has happened, we’re driving around town at breakneck speed so we can squeeze a gym run or trip to the post office between our fun afternoon at the museum and dinner reservations. I’d probably do better to schedule nothing, fun or otherwise, because as soon as a day off stretches in front of me, it’s like I forget it only contains 24 hours.
He Said: When I was reading an article on personality types once, I came across the phrase “unstructured downtime.” This could be my motto or mantra. I am not a lazy guy. On our Caribbean honeymoon, I couldn’t get enough of snorkeling, parasailing and zip lining; I’m not a chill on the beach type of dude. What “unstructured downtime” means to me is allowing a day to approach without a thousand obligations. It means that if we know a day off is in our future, we say something like, “we should go to a movie Monday.” Then on Monday, we see if there’s anything good playing and decide whether we want to go. We leave the plans out of it and allow the day to unfold. Some days are meant for planning, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes you need to see how you feel. Nobody really enjoys themselves on Memorial Day if they’re trying to juggle a party, three loads of laundry, dinner out and a trip to the pharmacy. If you get invited to a backyard barbecue on a three day weekend, RSVP yes and leave the rest of the day to fate.
When a beautiful, perfect day off is beckoning to you from down the road, remember to accommodate each other’s style. If you want the whole day open and she wants to stack it up with activities, look to the all important compromise. Leave a chunk of free time untouched and unplanned and let the busy half of your couple squeeze in an errand or two while you stay home and channel surf.