Health

Go on! Play hooky for one day to feel like a teen again

Astrid takes the day for herself and finds that happiness can really be found in the simpler things of life.

A happy woman holds a bunch of balloons

(Photo by Masterfile)

I’m playing hooky today. Unabashedly, optimistically and, happily playing hooky. Once I finish writing this, that is.

Think back to high school — weren’t those days some of the best? You likely don’t miss sitting through math class, but you probably do remember the time you blew off school and just hung out. Maybe you went out for ice cream, watched a movie at someone’s house or just relaxed.

Since managing a career and kids, playing hooky is no longer a choice I get to make on a whim. Today, ‘playing hooky’ has to be more planned. I have to make sure my kids are being looked after — today it’s all thanks to daycare and full-day camp (hurray for full-day camps!) — that my deadlines are hit and that I time my day so I can still pick up my kids at the usual hour. Thankfully I have self-employment on my side, making it easier to take the day off — no fear of taking in a Blue Jays game and being spotted by my boss Ferris Buellerstyle (notably: the ultimate hooky day movie).

So maybe while the spontaneity of playing hooky is gone, the spirit of it isn’t. I’ve got a partner (my husband) in hooky-crime and we don’t have a whole lot planned today. While our run in the Don Valley is squashed (thank you Toronto floods), we may take our run to the streets. Or we may just, like teens, hang out and watch a bad movie. We’ve got lunch lined up at a top Toronto restaurant and then maybe…who knows? We’ve had to leave some time open for just doing nothing because in our work worlds — where some of our days are crushingly-scheduled, our weekends spent running from soccer tournaments to baseball playoffs to get-these-kids-to-bed-on-time-because-they’ll-be-messes-in-the-morning — a day of having almost nothing planned is decadent.

And time alone with my husband is equally self-indulgent. In fact, the idea came from a little ritual he has with each of our children. Each year, each child gets an individual day off of school to hang out with dad. And then a few weeks ago, we found ourselves alone for a few hours in the afternoon — thanks to a drop off birthday party hosting both our children, the thought was inspired: we should have our own hooky day! I was hopeful, but not necessarily optimistic.

And so he made it happen, with both of us knowing how reenergizing and happy a little time alone spent as non-parents makes us. So, if you’ll excuse me…I’ve got nothing to do.

If you were to play hooky for the day what would you do with your free time?