Intentional Leisure


Way back in January or February my husband and I discussed plans for the year.  One of his objectives for our family was to “spend more time relaxing.”  At first glance it might seem like an odd goal, but he wanted to be intentional about making sure we planned outings as a family to go camping and mountain biking.

Too often we want to do fun things as a family, but the weekends seem to slip away and our calendars fill with other commitments.  Our goal this year was to schedule family time first – to make it one of the big rocks in our container and fill in the other stuff around it.

In March or April, I started making reservations at various places within a three hour drive of our house.  Our original goal was to go camping twice per month – the amended goal quickly became to “cottage camp” once per month and add additional single track riding close to our house.

Almost as soon as all the reservations were made, we had to start making adjustments.  Soccer ran a week longer than planned, our family reunion weekend changed, other conflicts came up.  Mostly we were able to adjust, but sometimes we chose to honor our plans and miss out on other events.

As we come to the end of the year, it’s clear our planning paid off.  We spent the night on a battleship, visited Niagara Falls in winter/early spring, and added the state of Kentucky to the boys travel list.  We created a ton of memories together.  Hopefully we will all be able to laugh about some of them given enough time.

We plan to do something similar next year, but I think we may focus less on camping and more on just taking a weekend trip together.

Admittedly it can feel a bit odd planning short weekend trips months in advance, but it helps us live life according to our priorities.   The time we have with our kids is short and it seems even shorter when we let other people schedule our time.

What about you?  Do you plan ahead or do you manage to be spontaneous and still get out of the house?