by Sunny Simon

It may come as no surprise to those who know me that I fall into the “goody two-shoes.” category. If you’ve never met me, just take my word for it because part of my persona is sticking to the truth. I’ve never gotten a traffic ticket, ignored a jury duty summons or neglected to return my library books by the due date. I do have one naughty little secret to share with you, I play hooky. Not only do I believe in escaping from where the world expects you to be on a given day, I highly recommend it.

Call it a mental health day, a Ferris Bueller lark or designated “me time,” refer to it by whatever name you choose, but do not deny yourself the occasional escape from your many obligations and duties. Before you go too far off the beaten path, the good girl side of me must warn you about the rules. Granted, they are my rules, but I hope you will indulge me. First, understand that hooky is a special dispensation you grant the worn-out deserving inner you. It should not be abused or turned into a habit. I allow myself one day per year. My second rule is choose the day wisely. Careful planning is necessary so that innocent people don’t suffer as a result of your absence. For example, do not take personal time from work on a day an important project is due, renege on playing teacher’s helper the morning of your third grader’s field trip or cancel out an hour before your mother-in-law’s big birthday bash.

The third and most important rule is, do something that gives you great joy. Escape to the beach with a picnic lunch or hide out in the library and lose yourself in a racy novel. Check into a day spa, go fishing or drive to LA and play tourist. Feel like bolting the doors and keeping the world at bay? It’s okay to stay home and have a movie marathon with your favorite DVD’s, watch the daytime soaps if you must or rearrange your furniture. The point of this day of freedom is to recharge and refresh.

One last rule: banish any thoughts of guilt from your mind. Hooky is a once a year event (if you follow my rules) that you strategically planned to deviate from the norm. The sole purpose is to relieve stress and prevent burn-out. It is a day of freedom rich with the significant benefit of blissful peace. Experience the joy and then return to your normal routine a happier you!