Friday, September 29, 2023

Adult Recess...Why Not?

When folks ask me about my CrossFit habit, I often say “It’s adult recess,” which usually gets a smile or a laugh. Adults don’t get recess, after all. 

During my sabbatical this past spring, I landed regularly at a CrossFit WOD at 10:30 a.m. I was drawn there because my best writing time each day is from the time I awake–usually 5:30/6 p.m.--until mid-morning, when I need to get up and move in some way.

Adult recess.

Then I’d return home, shower, get a bit to eat, before returning to the writing desk or any email I needed to tend. Refreshed. Reinvigorated. Arguably more productive and creative as well. (Unless it was a hero-Wod day with innumerable burpees, of course. Then I'd lie down for an hour or so. :)).

So I’ve gotten to thinking, wondering…When did we as a society decide that adults don’t need recess?

I think the most obvious answer is that we’ve not actually decided it as a society, at least directly. Recess is an elementary school practice (though waning today) with junior high and high school curricula pushing it out of the schedule. The curriculum grows more rigorous, so the rationale goes, and things that must be covered for standardized testing leave no room for “unstructured, purposeless time.”

But why not?

I can already hear the arguments from "billable hours" professions--lawyers, small businesses, with the competitive practices capitalism seems to require. Adult recess in these professions is not only implausible, it would be counter to the competitive pace of corporate business.

But what would it take to instigate a move for the benefits of adult recess, given our society’s increased health challenges and obsessions with busy-ness and overwork?

Active food for thought, for now.