By Melina Filippidou
Term one is officially over, leaving me an emotional cocktail just a couple of days before Christmas, with all the ingredients competing against each other. I always feel like the things that end right before Christmas, end more noisily. Maybe because they sign off the end of the year or maybe because the anticipation of the holiday has already set our dopamine levels on fire.
Before we leave we had our first portfolio masterclass and it was made clear to us that the first term was basically the foreplay. I can’t help but feel massively excited and terrified about what’s coming next. This two-week break is the chance to reflect , sober-minded (most of the time), upon the main themes of my experience so far: the stress of not missing out on anything, the anxiety of being constantly exposed, the greediness of shooting for perfection, the pain of handing work you’re not proud of, the arousal of overcoming yourself. Bottoms up.
I guess using alcohol as a metaphor kind of reveals my intentions for this holiday. I don’t believe drinking is necessarily the best way to zone out, but I do believe that leisure is essential to maintain our mental and physical health. I know that having a Greek person writing about how important it is to take time off work and have some proper fun doesn’t exactly come as a shock. Well, stereotypes only exist to make our point stronger. But wait, there’s more; rather than switching off, leisure time can be about rewarding the brain, or at least tapping it on the shoulder in case its performance was really embarrassing and you don’t think it deserves any kind of reward. I think we’ve all been there.
And it’s exactly that moment when my brain’s let me down, that I feel the need to feed it the most. That’s the moment when book reading turns into salvation. In September I promised myself that I’d spend my weekends reading. Unless menus and bills count, the read more goal hasn’t really been achieved yet. But starting tomorrow I have 9 weekends in a row, which basically means plenty of hours to feed my mind with brand new information, emotional experiences, beautifully written stories and disturbing viewpoints that have nothing to do with advertising. Much like a sponge, our brain gets drained over and over again, in order to spill out its best stuff, and right now mine could really use a refill. If there’s no more water left in the sponge, draining is just an exhausting and completely meaningless process.
The last thing I want is to be meaningless. If my work’s supposed to talk about me, then it’d better have some interesting things to say. This is actually my definition of leisure: a time of freedom to decide what kind of person I want to be.