Off is an interesting word because it describes a negative state of existence. Off is not being on or being aside from. It can be the state of not doing something.
Webster’s adds a few other thoughts to the definition, including: unconsciousness, being away from a path, being divided, separated from support, discontinuance or suspension.
It’s a state of not being. Not awake, not on the path, not together, away from support.
I’ve got the summer off from school. I’m in the state of not being a student. But I’m still doing reading for school, so I guess I can still be considered a student. And I still get a student discount. Definitely still a student, but in a state of suspension between semesters.
I have the day off of my retail job and finished my other work this morning, so this afternoon I’m in the state of not working.
But I’m not in a state of not being.
Read that again slowly.
Maybe it’s specific to my situation since the jobs I’m working now are great places to learn and grow but aren’t my career goal, but being off of school and off of work feel to be like the freedom to be more in my desired state of being.
Today I’m taking my blanket and my notebooks to sit on a hill by the lake and read and write. If you don’t want to be an author, that might sound like an afternoon of leisure, but for me it’s like practicing free throws or attending a conference or testing out new software. It’s practice, honing skills.
When you picture it, me sitting outside and doing something I really enjoy, it kind of does sound like a day off, but it’s not the state of not doing something. Well, it is because I won’t be selling clothes, but it also isn’t because it’s the state of doing something else.
Most people spend their days off doing something else. Especially if you work full time because the laundry doesn’t stop piling up, and your dishes don’t do themselves, and your friends still exist, even when you don’t see them (object permanence).
I guess I’m just thinking about what place work has in our lives, if when we say we have a day off that it means we’re in limbo, just veging until we are pressed against the grindstone again. We were made to work, to have purpose and be productive, but does it define our state of being?
I probably won’t be able to actually answer that til I’m working full-time, but until then I’m setting my goals for my time away from my money-earning jobs, so as to be in the state of doing something else.