I think we’ve invented our own term for one of the things we do best, Rob and I. We sometimes say we’re slugs, when we have a lazy day around the house. Somehow that mutated to “slugging,” although I think we may be the only two people using that term to mean what we mean.
The fine art of slugging—and lest you think I exaggerate in calling it an art, let me assure you that it does rise to that level of perfection—is not really about being lazy, or having a day of non-productivity. In fact, almost the opposite is true. But it is the kind of productivity that matters. A slug day is NOT about getting home chores done, or running errands all afternoon. No, slugging requires mental effort; not too much physical output.
A good day of slugging can begin early or late. We’re early risers (morning people at heart) so we’re typically out of bed before 6:00 a.m. Coffee for me, tea for Rob, and market watching, email, news, reading. But no loud noises are allowed to disturb the quiet of this hour.
After a bit (the best measurement of time) one of us is hungry. Breakfast signals a break to talk, share, catch up. If we’re at home, we sit in front of the windows in the sun porch; watch the traffic on the water. Sometimes we make a plan for the day at this point. It can be weather dependent, or there may be an errand that has to be fit into the day. But our best slug days are lengthy stretches of “a little of this, a little of that.” Usually one of us has something we’re researching online. One of us fiddles with plans for lunch or dinner so we know what to expect in terms of timing, or if we have to include a market outing before evening.
And always, after the early morning quiet, we have music going.
Sometimes we plan things we don’t do. We think we’ll get moving and go do a workout. Go for a picnic, or a walk around the lake. Or we think we’ll start an afternoon project. And sometimes we do. But not always. That’s the beauty of a slug day. If you’re doing something that holds your interest, or having one of those rambling conversations that wraps around one thing and leads to another, and another . . . it’s okay that the afternoon plans don’t materialize. Part of the charm is the flexibility we allow ourselves.
The key is that you have to be in sync to do this. You can’t be on two different clocks. If one of you is on whirlwind time, and the other on island time, you’re not going to have a day of slugging. You’re not going to wonder, late afternoon, where the day went. And you have to know that spending a day like this together is guilt-free. This is just as important as painting the bathroom or doing the laundry or bathing the dog. Actually, it’s more important because not only is it a mental change of pace, but doing it together is the thing that makes it special. I can never do this successfully without Rob. Inevitably I let myself get busy with the ought-to, have-to, need-to lists. Slugging together means spending the hours together, sharing a bit here and there, pausing to exchange a glance, a smile, a thought.
The best slugging is really unplanned time. Like many of the good things in life, it just sort of happens. About the only thing you can do to set the stage is to clear your calendars so that you don’t have obligations that interfere. After that, it’s just one of those things. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not. But when it does, you have a day of magic, out of nothing at all. Just time together, a little music, simple food, reading, talking, laughing.
Slugging—I highly recommend it for your mental health, your love life, for feeling satisfied with life. It’s relaxing, but more than that, it’s fulfilling. And the nice thing is, doesn’t cost a penny, doesn’t take special equipment, doesn’t take more than your time and your heart.