I was incredibly productive this week. In addition to being well rested from vacation, I had missed the satisfaction of making consistent daily progress on a project. On Wednesday, I began writing up the research I presented in Venice into a paper for possible publication. On Friday, I drafted a research proposal for a small fellowship. I also crafted a blog post for our Venice Working Group website with my reflections on the trip. On the domestic front, I laundered and prepared healthy meals and even cleaned the bathroom!
Nonetheless, being on vacation reminded me of the importance of not just taking time away from work, but of creating emotional space away from work. I'm very practiced at limiting the leaching of my work into the evenings or weekends, but over the course of my travels I realized that I have become a lazy defender of my emotional space. By that, I mean that I've thought of every activity I've done lately in terms of how it will affect my work later--assessing if the relaxation will have a positive return on investment when I resume writing. In effect, I have been instrumentalizing relaxation rather than, you know, relaxing.
So this weekend I've done things just for the sake of doing them, because they are things I enjoy. I've caught up with the ongoing season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. I took a water bottle filled with wine to the park at sunset and devoured several chapters of The Story of a New Name. I went with friends to Picklesburgh, and ate something delicious called a Pickle Pizza Boat. Tonight, I think I will go get an ice cream cone.
My sister found this giant bullfrog on her porch Friday morning, an ultimate omen of TGIF. He is my new weekend mascot. Live like the bullfrog. That is, if the bullfrog ate Pickle Pizza Boats.