Sunday, February 1, 2009

Background Question #1

Please describe your view of what an "activity" is in your daily life. Please give examples.

- a scheduled walk with friends to the dog park
(rather than, say, a spontaneous decision to go for a walk with the dogs, maybe?)
- a coffee date with a colleague at work.
-I regularly develop and participate in activities for my students
helping Josie make dinner
and work about cover it!

An activity is an event, a period in time, a destination, that is of interest to me, it may involve current competencies or interests that I have, or it may involve new learning, or it may be purely social and/or relaxation.

My view is pretty literal: any sustained action that occupies me: cleaning the house, writing an essay, taking a walk, making jewelry, cooking a meal, playing charades....

An activity for me is something like exercise… something that is important for my well being, my soul, as well as my self esteem. Besides exercise, other activities that I do almost daily include cooking, shopping, working (and working and working), reading, watching (some) television, checking my online communities and resources, and connecting with friends and family.

An activity is for me any focused effort by mind or body in work or play. An activity is for me any focused effort by mind or body in work or play.

If I am not sleeping, I am engaged in living and any action is an activity—interaction with friends, computer work, reading, cooking, grooming, playing, working, laundry, taking care of children, pets, family, running errands, practicing spirituality or religious rituals, watching TV, exercising, --ANYTHING at all. No limits. Whatever I am engaged in while awake and alert is an activity. And I don’t name it as such. It is just what I am doing. Often spontaneous, not scheduled.

Activities are every thing you do throughout the day, i.e. getting up, dressing, having meals, reading, taekwondo, exercise, computer use - they are anything and everything that you do that brings you enjoyment and a sense of purpose.

For me, activity consists of tasks that need to be completed during the day. I get up, take a shower, get dressed, drive to work, work, drive home, cook dinner, relax, read or watch television, get ready for bed - those are the activities in which I participate in a typical day. They are not necessarily anything that bring meaning to my life except for work as it causes me to feel successful and productive. What is most important to me is not necessarily that I have activities to do but rather that I am engaged in life in meaningful ways - with family, with friends. with colleagues. I need to be engaged socially, physically, spiritually, cognitively, emotionally. I need to be consistently challenged and stimulated.


Everyday I try and get up early. Before anyone else in the house—my father always said the day can be yours if you get up early and get your bearings before making any decisions.

I stand at the sink at the kitchen window.

With my right hand I flick the switch of the electric tea kettle, with my left I turn on the radio on the shelf just above my shoulder.

I imagine myself at the center of some ergonomic exercise I’ve customized.

I could do these with my eyes closed, yet the pleasure of having that time is never eclipsed. Hearing the sounds of the click of the kettle and then the rolling boil that follows as the dawn turns to daylight are the sights and sounds of my daily activity.

Interview with Steve
Activity? Isn't that every waking moment? Beyond that I think of activities as projects or various sub projects. It can be as simple as cleaning my house, but the more interesting ones involve solving some sort of problem or puzzle. I think of my art practice in that way - constant teasing out of problems and solving them.

1 comment:

  1. I talked to a farmer up here in the Hudson River Valley. She told me of the great event in the spring when they let the cows out into the new grass field for the first time since the start of winter. The kids would stay home from school just to see it. Even the oldest cows would frolic and leap like babes! I've seen something like this in Anne's story telling sessions. What is it that happens here?