While a junior in high school, I had the incredible opportunity to participate in a class that took 4 out of 5 periods on my school day for a semester. Two or three times a week we got to take “field trips” as a class for our coursework. I call it a field trip, but these excursions were different from what most would think of when they hear this term. These were actual trips into the field where we would perform tests and gather data on the different streams and rivers which were in our area. On one of the first trips we took one of the instructors led our class on a short hike to the top of a hill overlooking a small valley. As we all gathered around, he began to explain the purpose of this class. We all knew that we were here to gather and produce data that could be used in understanding the health of our local watershed. But then he began to speak on a word which I had heard and used plenty of times, but never in this way. The word was Recreation.
Often-times when we talk about recreation we think of “recreational activities” such as sports, hiking, or spending time doing anything which might require some sort of physical activity. As my teacher started expounding on this word, a whole new meaning fell into place. He broke it down into the prefix “re” and the root “creation”. With this new insight, he helped us understand the real purpose of getting outside wasn’t just to move or have a good time – both of which are still very important – but that we could re-create ourselves in the natural world. Life can be incredibly busy and stressful, overwhelming even! But the time we can spend away from the rat-race of daily life can be revitalizing and very uplifting. It can be that elusive “reset” button many of us are looking for. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that one of the Ten Commandments given in Moses’ time was to set apart one day out the week to not perform any labors. That was their time to take a pause and “re-create” themselves.
As I’ve thought more about this, we can really “re-create” anywhere and anytime we need to! Simple self-reflection can be the catalyst for so much good in our lives, and in our society. Studies on the impact of taking short breaks from work or school each day have indicated enhanced engagement and productivity, things which I think we can all agree on are important. These breaks provide the necessary time to step away and recharge. Whether at the workplace, at home, or at school, making time for recreational activities is so crucial for our personal wellbeing, and for the quality of our work. Let’s take time to slow down, sit back, and take time to “re-create” ourselves one day at a time.