Random Thoughts and Musings by moi

Musings by a feisty, opinionated Deaf gal who wants nothing but the best for her community and her people

jeudi 3 août 2006

So how do you spend your leisure time?

I got an intriguing e-mail recently, one that made me stop, sit, and reflect. My friend's son, who is taking his upper division classes in education, e-mailed me a survey focusing on leisure in order to complete an assignment. For me, leisure is a limited and precious commodity, and I had to stop and mull over each one of his questions. Here are the assigned questions and my responses. What about you, dear member of the Teeming Millions? What does leisure mean to you?

1. What would you define as Leisure?
I'd define leisure as any activity that is not required for one's job or to maintain one's physical body or one's dwelling. In other words, leisure is anything one chooses to do.

2. How would you break up Leisure into categories (physical leisure, intellectual leisure, etc.)?
I can see so many ways to break leisure up that this would require an essay to answer it. But for practical purposes and for what "works" for me, I would break it up into physical leisure, intellectual leisure, creative leisure, and plain relaxation.

3. How important do you think each of your categories is to you in your own life?
All are important to me in different ways. I love to swim and if I don't swim for a week or so, I start feeling out of sorts and I become quite stiff. Intellectual leisure helps stimulate my mind and gets me thinking in different ways. I've become quite fond of Sudoku. Creative leisure, as the name implies, unleashes my creativity. This is probably the most important category for me, because I'm happiest when I'm creating something, whether it's a finely honed blog post debating the issue du jour, a handpainted clock, or a set of curtains. I cannot discount the role of relaxation, however. When I'm stressed out, nothing feels as good as lying down on the sofa and watching mindless sitcoms or reading Archie Double Digest comics.

4. How important, overall, is leisure to you?
Oh, leisure is extremely important to me. I love my job, but if I had a choice, I would spend less time at work and more time in other pursuits. It's a must as far as I'm concerned.

5. How important do you think leisure is to society? Explain.
I think in America leisure has become another obligation or another way to keep up with the Joneses. We're stressing ourselves out trying to outdo everyone, and this extends to our leisure time.

6. How much time do you spend on leisure weekly?
Every minute I can. It fluctuates wildly from week to week, because my job is not stable in terms of pressures from week to week. I try to spend at least an hour per night and a few hours, if not all day one day during the weekend.

7. Does the time you spend on leisure affect (positively or negatively) other aspects of your life? Why or why not?
If I'm not hyper stressed out with an overwhelming to-do list, it's very positive. It leaves me feeling refreshed, whole, and fulfilled.

8. What leisure activities do you like to do?
I could write a tome, but allow me to list some of the activities I like to do.
Writing blog posts that are starting points for discussions
Spending time with friends and loved ones
Watching television
Going to museums, exhibits, and that type of thing
Debating on a wide variety of topics
AIM chatting

9. Do you believe society and others understand the importance of leisure? Explain.
I will combine my answer for 9 and 10 below.

10. Do you believe that we should change our understanding of leisure (treat it more, or less, importantly as we do other aspects of our life such as work)? Why?
As I mentioned in #5, leisure has become a source of stress in America. We could learn a thing or two from Europeans. Their way of life is much more relaxed, and hence their leisure is more relaxed. I think if one took a survey, the majority of respondents would say, "Yes, leisure is important." But they would come up with reasons why they can't do as much as they like, citing numerous demands on their time. I believe leisure has become a source of stress, just like everything else. I'm not lazy by nature, and I have been praised over and over for going above and beyond in my job, but there are limits to what we can do and still maintain certain standards for quality of life.

11. What has changed in how you view leisure since you were young?
My whole life used to be leisure when I was a child, except for school, homework, and chores. I took it for granted, I think. Now that I have the responsibility of being a productive employee, maintaining my household, and all the stuff that is expected of an adult, leisure has become precious to me. I have to consciously carve out time for it or to plan so that I'm not just sprawled on the sofa doing nothing.

12. Open–ended (Feel free to comment on anything here).
I think I've said a lot on the topic, but bottom line - leisure is whatever one chooses to do for pleasure. It is often a source of guilt for people, I suspect, and that's not the way it should be. It should be celebrated and honored.