Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Purpose of Recreation

Photo Source: Lucia Sanchez

 The end of labor is to gain leisure.  -Aristotle

We toil through this shortening life, gathering, accumulated, stressing, and amassing.  What is it all for? Aristotle believes it is to recreate.

The common consumer lifestyle seems to suggest that Aristotle's words are true.  The consumer pulls off 13 years of grade school, plus another 4-8 years of college, in order to get a 50 hour a week job, so that he can play golf on the weekend with his buddies.   In fact, he is so stressed that he needs to play a few hours of golf, a week, to keep his blood pressure down.

30 years of this cycle equate to a 3000 square foot home, jammed packed with the coolest toys, and 30 years of retirement, where guess what, he wants to play golf.

What is the purpose of leisure in our lives?  What does it accomplish?  Is there a blurry line between recreating and working?

Recreating allow us to express ourselves.
Participating in a sport or hobby allows you to express yourself, to push your limits, to explore your own capabilities.  Recreation allows you to use your gifts in the perfect venue.  

Recreating allows you to have "me time."
When you're out surfing a wave, or hitting golf balls at the range, you can just tune out and focus on your swing. It affords a great opportunity for self discovery.  The extreme focus of a hobby, or the physical output of a sport, are great for de-stressing from the rest of life.

Recreating builds relationships.
Recreating with friends and family members builds companionship, trust,  and camaraderie.  Even if you're not talking, it can be comforting to know that someone else is experiencing the same thing as you.
For instance, you and your best friend are backpacking, walking quietly along a trail, and you see the sun majestically come up over the Rocky Mountains.   It's more rewarding to share those incredible moments.

Mixing Work With Pleasure

It is often talked about in the lifestyle design community, that when you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.  However, when pleasure becomes work, it does lose something.

For instance, you love playing golf.  It is your highest passion and greatest form of self expression. You decide to make it a career, your bread and butter, out of teaching golf lessons in Palm Beach.  Instead of early peaceful mornings, watching the sun sparkle the morning dew on the 5th green, you are teaching the retired how to properly grip a club with arthritic hands.  Everyday is another person, but the same routine of swing and critique, swing and critique.  You used to love giving tips to receptive strangers, but now that it puts food on the table, it's lost the appeal.

When you begin getting paid something, you lose the freedom of just enjoying it.  When you work at a job you love, it can be very rewarding, however, remember to keep something for yourself, something you love to do just for the sake of doing it.

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