In Defense of Rest

Alan Simpson
3 min readJul 28, 2021
Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash

I knew it was coming. I knew online school would lead to the end of the snow day. New York schools have no announced that there will be no snow days. Snow days will now be remote learning days. I assume other school systems will do the same. I’ve written multiple times about snow days and why they were important to me.

The main reason I loved a snow day was that it gave me permission to rest. No work, No school. Time to relax and watch the snow coverage on TV and drink coffee until the kids woke up and wanted to play in the snow. Now everyone does remote work instead. There is no time off because we hate the idea of rest.

There was an editorial in the Washington Post about how people were looking forward to getting their vaccine because the side effects would give them the opportunity to take time off. People are looking forward to a shot’s side effects so they can rest. That is really messed up. It’s not surprising, though. Americans have trouble with rest. We don’t use the vacation time we have earned. We don’t take sick days when we need them. The concept of taking a mental health day seems wrong. Whenever I took a sick day at my old job my boss made sure to bring it up a lot so that I knew that she remembered the time I was a slacker. When I would take a long vacation she would be sure to bring it up in front of her boss to try to make me look bad for not working constantly. She would brag about never taking a vacation. It was a lie, but she thought the idea that she didn’t use her earned vacation made her look good. I feel like this attitude is prevalent in America.

Even outside of work we seem to be unable to rest. We fill our kids off school hours with scheduled activities. We don’t give them time to just have unstructured fun. We fill our off hours with to-do lists and errands. There is always something that needs to be done and if you don’t do it you are lazy and wasting time.

When I left my job one of the things my wife was concerned about was me spending too much time “doing nothing” and I guess being depressed because I wasn’t busy enough. We are so ingrained with the idea that rest is bad that some people struggle with retirement because they can’t handle not being busy all the time. I struggle with it now that I have a lot of hours to fill, but I struggle more with being afraid people are judging me…

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Alan Simpson

I am a semi-retired former librarian who writes about a variety of topics. I review TV shows. I review books. I write about what is happening around us.