When I was in elementary school, my parents’ rule for me and my three siblings was that there had to be some fever or some throw-up if you were going to stay home from school. The rule was hard and fast. And if you did have a fever or had thrown up the night before, no school for you, regardless of whether you had a math test or Field Day. It was a good rule, especially for a family with four kids––objective, measurable, fair.
But sometime between high school and now––the ripe age of 25––I stopped believing in that need for rest.
When I got to high school, my parents added a layer: one “mental health day” per year. You couldn’t miss tests, and you couldn’t do extracurriculars if you didn’t also do class. You had to make up all missed work, which we always diligently did. And once you used your mental health day for the year, it was back to fever and puke. But for that one day, you could take a day of rest. It was progressive parenting, I always thought, and I intend to do the same with my kids.
But sometime between high school and now––the ripe age of 25––I stopped believing in that need for rest. Or at least believing in it enough to actually prioritize it. Whereas I could always make up a math test after a sick day, now even the most menial tasks at work can’t seem to wait.
Yesterday, I asked my boss if I could come in late to the office so I could go to the health clinic about a cold/flu/infection that’s lasted two weeks. Without hesitation, she said, “Definitely!” (progressive bossing, which I also intend to emulate). When I got back to the office, shockingly (not really), nothing had fallen apart without me.
It’s an important lesson I need to keep learning. A lesson in humility. A lesson that living intentionally also means being intentional about rest.