I’ve gone on a number of hikes this summer, read a few books, and started a blog. In doing these activities, I wondered what other people were doing with their leisure time.
To me, leisure is the quality of our life experiences away from work and chores. Therefore, what we choose to do with this time, tells a lot about ourselves and what’s truly important to us. The leisure time we have is essential to our health and our well-being. This crucial time offers us opportunities to spend with family, friends, or just simply ourselves. How we spent this time varies from one person to the next, but participating in leisure helps us manage stress and find balance in our lives. If leisure time is so crucial, how we spend it has to be one of the most important decisions we make in our lives. Because of this realization, I wanted to get a picture, an image of how we spent this time. What we choose to do is not only crucial, but critical in keeping us sane and healthy. Therefore, I wondered! What did people do for leisure? What did people do to keep themselves sane? So one morning, I decided to take a walk in my neighborhood, asking friends and strangers, what was the number one thing they did for leisure?
The first place I visited was a local grocery store not far from where I live. I shop there often and know a number of the employees. In fact, one of the employee, is a former student I had when I taught middle school math and science several years ago. As I entered the grocery store, that former student had just finished helping a customer. I walked up to her and said hello. I told her that I had a simple question to ask. She said, “of course, what’s the question? So I asked her. What is the number thing you do for leisure? Her response was quick. “If I were to be truthful, I really enjoy browsing YouTube and BuzzFeed for comedy. It’s what I like to do. “ she said. It was not what I had expected her to say. But, I appreciated it. I ask if it was possible to get her colleagues to answer the question, then forward the information to me? She said, “Yes that’s fine.” I left her with my business card. Within a few hours, she had sent me information on five of her colleagues who had responded to the question. Their responses were: sleep, swimming, guitar, sitting outside drinking a beer, and doing art. One of my favorite response was, “I like playing with other people’s pets.”
I left from the grocery store and was waiting for a metro bus to go downtown. As I waited at the bus stop, I ran into a couple of friends. I ask them both this question. The friend on my right seemed surprised by the question. There was a bit of hesitation. I wasn’t sure if the pause was about the question or the response he was going to give. He said, “Not a damn thing. No responsibilities. You know what I mean? I just want to chill and do nothing. Don’t want to be bothered by anyone or anything. ” We both laughed. The friend to my left, just said, “sleep man.” I connected with thirty-seven people throughout the day. I asked them the same question about leisure. Here is breakdown:
What I took from this simple activity is that it doesn’t matter what we decide to do for leisure. I wondered if we participate in leisure to avoid, to flee, or to cover up something? But in the end, even if that was the case—does it matter?