There's a rave on my couch

Some people don't worry about their free time. Maybe they have a passion like playing golf or going to the movies or logrolling that they indulge whenever possible. Maybe they have little free time because of family obligations, house-cleaning, bill-paying, and work. In either case, these people don't have to think up new ways to entertain themselves. The question "What do you want to do this weekend?" is rarely asked.

Not us. Most every week, around Thursday, a sort of activity anxiety sets in around our house, and we begin asking that dreaded question. The initial answer is, inevitably, "I don't know. What do you want to do?" Then comes the brainstorming, wherein all manner of implausible excursions are proposed. We operate around the idea that walking out the door and doing "things" is good for us. We have conditioned ourselves to believe that going out to the museum or to a lecture or to the park or to a festival, or even to the bookstore, makes us better humans. We improve ourselves merely by not staying at home. Plus, when we're asked what we did over the weekend, we have a better answer than "oh, nothing."

But really, this last part seems to be the key. Because for all our efforts and energies spent on finding that elusive "something to do," we're at least semi-homebodies at heart. What often drives us to go out is not a genuine desire, but the mistaken notion that staying at home should be equated with worthlessness and laziness. Thus it's believed that going to a history museum has more merit than watching documentaries on the History Channel. Reading a book at the park, with blanket and picnic basket in tow, becomes in such warped minds an intellectual and cultural pursuit, but reading the same book while wearing a robe and lying on the couch constitutes nothing but loafing.

The point is, the stigma attached to "doing nothing" in most cases cannot be justified. You reach a point in your life, as we are beginning to around our house (it's called marriage), when going out for its own sake is no longer good enough. Sure, we still go out, but we do it out of real interest rather than some false obligation to ourselves. Hanging around the ol' homestead has gradually revealed some of its most attractive features. We once thought an empty weekend calendar spelled L-O-S-E-R, but we're beginning to see how loafing and laziness and wasted days can be sublime luxuries. But best of all we are ridding our lives of that awful question; "What do you want to do this weekend?" has become "Do you want to do anything this weekend?"

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Larra Ann Keel