As a student in the Department of Recreation and Leisure (University of Waterloo, ’71 – ’75) I was excited about what the future promised. Every page of our required reading; the essence of our weekly lectures; and all supporting media messages focused on one thing … the increase of leisure time and the challenges we would face because of it.
In a Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Commercial Letter issued in February 1971 …
“The importance of leisure in our lives is suggested by the fact, that on average, as much as one-third of the 24 hours in the day may be regarded as free time … Leisure – that time free of major obligations including commuting, eating, sleeping and housework.”
It’s interesting that forty years later we have so much more to add to that list of major obligations.
I couldn’t wait to start my career as a ‘Leisure Counselor’. Imagine being paid to meet with people to help them through the dilemma of filling the abundance of free time on their hands … a guaranteed problem resulting from the onslaught of automation.
We were assured our work weeks would be drastically diminished freeing up more time for personal relationships, time to explore new areas of interests and the time to play. Whaaaat??
They were either terribly misinformed or somehow we were given the wrong directions to ‘play land’. And sadly I never did get the opportunity to set up shop in the business of ‘leisure leadership’.
In a recent article by Dr. Oz (Toronto Star, Monday, April 4, 2011) he wrote “Serious fun isn’t just for kids. It packs big benefits for your health, mood, mind, job and — most important — relationships.”
I think the key word there is ‘serious’. It seems that’s exactly what we have done wrong with our approach to ‘play’. We’ve made it more like work … every celebration has a theme requiring laborious efforts to coordinate; every new activity comes packaged with the purchase of equipment, a commitment to lessons and a desire to improve with competitive play; and with every attempt to schedule it into our day, comes the stress of all of the arrangements necessary to clear the calendar to steal the time. We get overwhelmed and exhausted just thinking about it.
It takes work to have fun. I too try hard to balance my life with the demands of my work and the pleasures of my play. After all, I had to learn something from my four years of study. Actually I’m most happy when my work and play overlap … even though it still requires an effort to make it happen.
But not every person has the resources or the luxury of time on their side to reach the state of blissful balance for even brief moments each day. And the way things are going with the hang around crowd (adult offspring) and growing financial commitments from satisfying or wants and our needs, ‘Freedom 75’ seems realistic.
Compounding the issue is our lack of self discipline to ignore the luring and addictive calls of technology and all its social networking accessories.
So we must gradually break away to enjoy some idleness, pursue our passion or indulge in mindless activity. And when we do have the opportunity to turn our back on the baneful thieves of your pleasure, step outside and have some fun … either alone or in the company of those you enjoy.
“You don’t stop playing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw
I look forward to staying young … at least in my mind. My ‘later years’ will be spent in a ‘home’ with my girlfriends who promise I can be the Social-Recreation Director so we can continue to enjoy ourselves together.
PS the men’s residence will be across the lake … just a short choppy paddle away.
Carole Bertuzzi Luciani is a professional speaker known as ‘The Moodivator’. As an author of a self published book “I have a story for you …” Musings of the Moodivator’ as well as the writer of over 150 posted blogs, her goal is to apply a gentle tickle to your funny bone. Her sidewalk view of the world is a familiar one guaranteed to make you sit back and see yourself in it.