Taking Back My Time
By Karen Estlund
October 24th celebrated the first annual Take Back Your Time Day. For all of us who are overworked and overstressed, Take Back Your Time Day presents an opportunity to re-examine our priorities. Set on October 24th to mark the nine extra weeks Americans work compared with Western Europeans, this date displays a startling reminder of where the American dream has brought us. (For more information see www.timeday.org.)
Campus events commemorating Take Back Your Time Day ranged from yoga in Odegaard Library to storytelling to a dramatic workshop. Events were sponsored by Computing and Communication, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, the Graduate School, the Henry Art Gallery, the Information School, the Office of Undergraduate Education, and the UW Libraries. According to David Levy, attendance at the events was low, but the support of the various departments is a positive move. The next step, for us, is to continue a dialogue discussing the importance for “taking back your time” – what that means for each of us and as a society.
On Take Back Your Time Day, I took back my time. I took it all the way off campus. Having just moved to Seattle, I decided this was an excellent opportunity for my husband and me to get to know the benefits of the area.
The first destination was Snoqualmie Falls. Only a half an hour east of Seattle, this site is definitely worth the drive. I parked the car on the north side of the road and walked over a sky bridge. A sign stands facing the end of the bridge pointing to a resort and spa to the left and the falls lookout to the right. Staying on task, we walked towards the lookout. As we approached the lookout, we were encompassed in a fog, and I noticed we were getting wet. As I looked around, I realized why everyone else was in a rain coat. Undeterred by the spray, we walked past the busloads of elementary school children. Squinting through the fog, we caught glimpses of the falls. The water crashed upon the rocks below and shot back up in the air. It was beautiful.
The next stop on our journey was a few miles east at Little Si in North Bend. This three-hour round trip hike was peaceful and serene. The leaves had just started to change, and we hiked through a forest of golden leaves. We noticed Access Fund signs pointing to some local climbing and were surprised by the impressive rock slabs. (Next time, we’ll be bringing the rope and gear.) This hike is a nice stroll through the woods culminating with an unblocked view of the valley.
After freshening up from our hike, we took the bus downtown to see The Hanging Man. This play presents the story of a medieval architect who hangs himself, but death will not take his soul until he gets to know death a little better. He hangs between heaven and hell suspended above the floor for most of the play. The play was produced by Improbable Theatre, an independent British ensemble. The play was very amusing, while requiring some thought.
After living in Seattle for two and half months, this was the best day I’ve experienced. Taking back my time provided entertainment, exercise, introspection, wonder, and togetherness with my husband. The benefits of this day continue to bring balance into my life and thoughts. I plan to take back my time every month, and I encourage you to do the same.
Tips & Resources:
Professor David Levy encouraging others to take back
their time in Red Square. Photo by Dowell Eugenio.