Dear reader, if you seek distraction as a form of solace, this might be for you. It is not intended to make light of the seriousness of our current pandemic - simply to give your brain a couple of minutes to engage in a different thought process.
A month ago, my wife and I tried to pull off the kind of jet-setter move that would have been more appropriate for a couple far younger than we pretend to feel.
A family member who'd spent the past couple of decades on the fast track to Silicon Valley success was feeling burnt out from the all-consuming nature of the work, and decided to take a detour from the high intensity of startup life and recharge her batteries by spending a few months living in Mexico City.
Since Mexico City is our Paris, I jumped at the opportunity to join her in the pursuit of extreme leisure. We planned a four day, mid-week, whirlwind tour - inclusive of travel days.
We arrived to enjoy shorts and sandals weather and plenty of sunshine as a backdrop to unrushed time with people we loved. Instead of sightseeing, we ambled through neighborhoods we'd consider living in when we someday become empty nesters, the cafe and restaurant-dotted Condesa and Roma districts.
A highlight of this trip was a lazy afternoon spent in Coyoacan, the quaint suburb a short Uber ride from Mexico City, where the painter Frieda Kahlo lived out a tumultuous life with her muralist husband Diego Rivera. We'd visited their home-turned-museum on a prior trip (worth a visit!), and returned to get a sense for the town itself.
The pedestrian-friendly shaded avenues, historic buildings dating to the time of conquistador Hernan Cortes and beautifully laid out plazas decorated with festive papel picado were a delight.
A frozen coffee drink from El Jarocho, a local institution since the 1950s, was the perfect start to the afternoon.
We wound our way through one of several town markets, enjoying narrow stalls whose sections divided strictly into categories like fresh produce, fishmongers, clothing, piñatas, butchers, household goods, food court, blinking Chinese imports one finds at dollar stores, and (best of all) fresh juice.
Mexico is an agricultural wonderland, able to grow abundant exotic fresh fruits thanks to its wide range of climates. As a result, fresh juice stalls adorn many urban street corners, providing a highly accessible treat perfectly suited for a hot day.
We stopped at a juice bar in the market and were amused to find a "special menu" of items designed for therapeutic benefit.
I tried the cellulitis. It was delicious!
I often wonder what life might feel like once the structure of professional work is removed. For a few days, we tested pure leisure.
It was enjoyable as a break from quotidian worries.
Problem is, I'm not built to be a book on a beach guy forever. I feel best constantly doing, learning, trying, creating.
This experiment has helped me realize I'll do best with a routine: exercise, writing, reading or learning, volunteer work, targeted local exploration.
Sometimes it takes leisure to show us we prefer work (ideally on our terms and of our choosing).