Blue Zones Project: Take Five (or Goofy Takes a Break)

Oy. I am so bad at this one.

In my office, thanks to my sweetheart’s Valentine’s Day present, I have a print of Pete McKee’s Goofy Takes a Break.


In my imagination, I always think of Goofy as the hardest working guy at Disney World. He’s everywhere, right? Warming up the crowd at Chef Mickey’s, greeting people before the parade, cheering up little kids.

Sure, Mickey is also everywhere, but he’s the star. I’m sure he gets paid substantially more coin than Goofy, and I’m sure that Goofy is sort of taken for granted. You know, Donald might be in the same boat, but he’s pretty vocal about what he should and shouldn’t get. Donald can look after himself. But Goofy? Well, since he loves his work so much anyway, they might take advantage of Goofy.

In this picture, we see Goofy taking one of those brief moments for himself. Just looking out the window with Goofy, whether he’s on a train or in a cafe, or even in the staff break room at Epcot, I feel this sense of longing. Like Goofy, I do a lot and I don’t stop myself often enough.

That’s the point of the second of the Blue Zone Power Nine I need to discuss–relaxing. Every long-lived pocket of our society take time out to relax, whether it’s prayer, or meditation, or taking a nap. Every day.

Myself, with the psychological baggage of defining myself by my accomplishments, and the cultural disadvantage of the Puritan work ethic, resist the relaxation part of the Power 9 with all the power my Type A self can muster.

And yet…that picture just makes me want to slow down and look at a window and be myself for its own sake. You know, maybe that picture shouldn’t be in my office. Maybe it should be in a meditation room at home. Or maybe I need to be studying it when I eat lunch. Food for thought (get it?)

So, definitely one I have to work on–finding time to relax each day. BTW, I do tai chi two days a week, so I’m not a total loser in this regard. There is definite room for improvement.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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