We all have busy lives. Very busy. Almost everyone I know remembers "free time" with nostalgia like it's a childhood memory. We feel like 24 hour days are not long enough. And there is always something that still needs to get done. As soon as a list is crossed off there's another list. And even when we have accomplished so much, it still isn't enough. As a result, those few minutes of extra sleep with the snooze alarm are jealously sought after.
There can be two extremes in society. Those who neglect their duties and fall into laziness by spending too much time doing whatever they want whenever they want. Those who make "too much time for fun." On the complete opposite side of the spectrum there are the workaholics, who never take time for leisure and relaxation. So where comes this healthy balance of making time for fun and fulfilling your duties?
Most people are in the in-between state. They work hard and play hard and do their best to have this balanced life. But, more often then not, that in-between state leans harder toward working too much. For sometimes I think we don't realize how important that "free time" is. We seem to feel guilty taking it like we are neglecting something else important.
Stress is very bad for us and if it boils over too high, we will inevitably crash. We need to have some personal time, be it ever so brief. Take something that you love to do and do it for at least half an hour a day. This could be extra prayer time, hanging out with family, watching a good movie, going for a walk. Whatever makes you relax and takes your mind off your troubles.
The term recreation has been forgotten. Having fun actually reinvigorates you and helps you perform all those necessary duties better. And it makes you a lot happier. If you don't have time for fun in your life, then you need to look at your life and make some changes.
If you're always living for the future by constantly filling your life with work that needs to be done, then you will never enjoy each day as it comes. Because there is something to be said for "savoring." Not rushing to the next thing all the time. But savoring the day-to-day moments, enjoying what is right in front of you. Being able to pause amidst your occupations and remember why you are doing them at all.
After all, if you never have any fun, you will be a very dull person indeed. Believe it or not, laughing and having a good time is one of the most important things because it helps us realize life doesn't always have to be so serious. And I don't mean that we don't have to take our life seriously or that how we use our time doesn't matter. Because it does tremendously. But rather joy (the fruit of having a balanced life) reminds us that all these earthly sufferings and trials will pass, and one day we will have eternal rest, eternal joy, and eternal bliss. If only we rise to the challenge and both accept our responsibilities and perform them well, and also take the time to enjoy our lives. As one of the saints said, "Live as if you were already in Heaven."