Thesis: The reason the Super Bowl is super is that the next meaningful football game is almost seven months away.
We love champions, and part of the reason is that they are the winners of the last game that will be played in that sport for a considerable period of time. In other words, flipping it around, what makes a champion is the presence of an offseason. Offseasons are critical parts of seasons, though we rarely think of them as such.
Bodies and minds need time to not be engaged. We sleep–we should sleep–in order that the mind may process the information of the day and the body may rest for the morrow. Over time, though, we need more than that. Farmers have winter (which isn’t time OFF, necessarily, but the rhythm is different, slower). School has summer. God made the Sabbath (not that we use that for rest, any more).
What do we have, in the modern era?
Despite our having more tools to do more work faster than ever before in the history of man, we take very little advantage of it. Despite having a longer average retirement than ever, we do less retiring when we have great physical capability and try to pack all of it into the part of our life when we have the least.
Last year, I took May off. I still wrote 50,000 words, of course, because that’s sort of like brushing my teeth, something I just do because it’s part of me, but I didn’t do anything else. No mortgages. No teaching. I stayed home. I read. I went to Oregon with my wife and went to Phantom of the Opera. It was a time so rich and so full of peace that I think back on it almost like a dream.
I’m going to do it again. I don’t have a huge number of choices with regard to when, anymore, as I’ve committed to teach class at Lumen through this school year, but May is the end of class, and I’m going to take another month off then. This time, I’m not going to answer the phone. I will be off Facebook and Twitter. I won’t do regular meetings. I’m taking sabbatical, which I know is supposed to be a seventh of my time, and this is just a twelfth, but that’s what I think I can do. My Super Bowl is May 8. And I’m going to win. And then I’m going to stop playing the game for a while.
Already, I can’t wait. In the interest of sanity and peace for your soul, let me encourage you to find some time off as well. Find it, make it, and take it.
Let me know how that goes, too. I’m interested.