My friend Baro Shalizi sends me these, with his answer. I write mine for him, and then read his.
It’s a lot of fun, and you are welcome to weigh in.
Although Baro and I are different in many ways (he likes to give dinner parties, for example, and I can’t really cook) our answers sometimes have uncanny overlaps.
QUESTION: How often to you just relax? What do you like to do that has no goal and no stated purpose other than to feel good?
Baro: There are many thing that I do for the pleasure they bring me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are relaxing. For example, I garden and take great pleasure in creating something aesthetically pleasing. However, when a plant dies or bulbs don’t come up, it is irritating and therefore stressful. The same can be said for writing. I enjoy writing. However it is stressful getting not being able to get it published. Granted I could write for the sake of writing, but there is nothing I like to do that doesn’t have a desired outcome. I like matters to progress smoothly, however, more often than not, I don’t have control over the process or the outcome. That is stressful. As I write and reflect on this question, I realize that actually the things I do purely to relax are totally different than what I just wrote. For relaxation, I like to go for a long walk, soak in a hot tub, listen to music. These things, unfortunately, I don’t do as frequently as I should.
Miriam: A LOT. I try to have two hours per day at least to read/sew/dance to music…I miss having a cat. These activities have some “purpose” but the main purpose is to relax. I also, as you know, have lunch out with myself several times a week. I take two hot baths a day–needed for my bad leg but essentially relaxing too. I’m really fond of free time…Rich and I spend a chunk each day chatting or curled up. I guess I think these things have purpose–or really everything has purpose–but these certainly aren’t chores or billable hours. I like to browse too, go out to the Railyard, look in galleries, just hang out.