I have a friend who decided to go on holiday in her own house in central Madrid for a week. Alone. Without her partner, without her children and without her dog. Her plan is, once she arrives at her destination, to close the door, turn on the air conditioner, turn off all appliances, and then get on with her cause. She tells me that maybe she’s not doing anything, or maybe she’s reading or doing yoga. But she’s not sure what’s going to happen: her journey is one of pure adventure and uncertainty as my friend plans to focus solely on her free time. She doesn’t want to go anywhere, she is content to be in a certain way in the world: “idleness and nothing else”.
The journey he proposes is not easy because free time is not something and is not within everyone’s reach since it is the time used to build oneself, to grow. leisureit says in ancient Greek School, and means “leisure time”, which is the root of the Latin word schoolwhere our current school is from. And it makes sense, because without that time to dedicate to ourselves and do the things we want for ourselves, there is no possible education or possible citizenship. Thus, leisure is so fundamental to the construction of citizenship that democracy would be unfeasible without it. The problem in our society is that time is more regulated and marketed than ever and most of us live solely in productive time.
As we all know, work best regulates productive time, more specifically paid work done for others that does not belong to you. The problem is that from Fordism to the present day, the regularization of time has increased to unbearable proportions. Because within the pure working time – the working hours that we have signed by contract – new regulations have been introduced, micro-times that strain the soul of the contemporary worker even more. I’m talking about the time of productivity, efficiency and competition, which are new micro-regulations and consequently new ways to end the possibility of any leisure or personal construction. Working hours can be given up at the end of the day, but micro-regulations penetrate the very core of identity.
What are the holidays? From this point of view, pure labor recovery. And who is the holiday for? To work without a doubt. Can’t we stop being productive even when we’re not working? Unfortunately, it’s very difficult because new technologies have also entered this new dimension of productivity, which complicates things even more. So much so that social networking has become a new extension of work. So in our society, every minute of the day is potentially monetizable, especially for the companies that manage and use these networks for their business purposes. That’s why networks are so addictive and theirs feeds You hook so much. It is not for nothing that they are designed for this, because the user is the product with which he trades and he always needs us in the shop window.
At the same time, the fact that many of our social interactions are virtual—conversations, dances, flirts, debates, meetings…—means that even in our times of quiet or intimacy, others enter in one way or another and also with them. their assessments and expectations. To be alone and so it is no longer enough to close the door or put land in between. We travel to tell our friends about it, to see how we enjoy ourselves and also to be seen, to achieve what we call “a good holiday”, able to achieve its goal and getting ready to return to work with renewed energy. . In such a context there is no place to flee or seek refuge, and the only salvation is within. So my friend’s idea of staying idle at home is a form of activism and struggle, just as choosing not to participate in anything that has a purpose would be… At least on vacation. Don’t think that I’m inviting you not to leave the house or turn off your devices next August, not even to delete yourself from social media. The ability to switch off, like not working, is reserved for a very privileged few, who are fewer and fewer. On the contrary, most of us, for one reason or another, need to be connected, informed, gaining visibility for our projects, available for our friends, our family… our phone, after all. However, there are some things we can do to avoid drowning in the sea of productive time. Personally, I won’t be staying home, let alone alone, but internally I’ve promised myself a significant drop in performance, only getting half done over the next few days, not caring too much about what I’m doing or doing, and some Time to visit when luck smiles on me, a space of unproductivity.
I don’t know if I’ll make it, but I’m confident it will be fun to try wherever I am. Because boredom is the opposite of free time, the one who is bored because he doesn’t know how to grow, he doesn’t know what to do with his life or with his time, he lacks enough freedom and the necessary knowledge to know who he is or what he wants. It is therefore not necessary to leave the room to have a good time, but it is important to know yourself. Seen in this light, the vacations we so desperately desire and the relaxation they promise may not seem like an easy task. The good news is that this summer, while difficult, could be ours. So you know, have fun, rebel and try not to tell anyone, don’t share your best moments and keep everything. I say goodbye to this room until September, but not before wishing you a meaningless and meaningful August.
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