You guys, this just in. You may be doing your weekend all wrong.
Yeah, I know. It sounds a little outlandish. But Tom recently shared this article with me and it argues that we are weekend-ing all wrong.
How we spend our time on the weekends is determined by, in large part, how we spend our time during the week. We get up, go to our jobs where we work for 8+ hours per day, take a break for lunch if we’re lucky, maybe squeeze in a workout, then head home to pull together something to eat, then go to sleep and do it all again the next day. So it’s no surprise that come Friday night, we want to relax and do something that makes us feel good. Something indulgent after a long, hard week. Something like collapsing on the couch and watching Netflix, or going out for drinks with the girls. Makes sense, right?
Well, not exactly. This article argues that while those types of leisure activities make us feel good in the short-term by releasing dopamine (the feel-good drug) into our system, the key to feeling good in the long run is by pursuing something called “serious leisure.” What exactly is serious leisure? Well, in short, it’s a hobby. Something you pursue with the active intention of mastering a new skill. Something that encompasses the three key components of active leisure: socialization, altruism, and play. Some examples might be practicing tai chi, learning a new language, or playing an instrument.
Why aren’t we inclined to pursue serious leisure? Well, we’re tired. Spent. We give our week everything we’ve got and come Friday we’re wiped. The article actually quotes Bertrand Russell:
“There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency…The pleasures of urban populations have become mainly passive: seeing cinemas, watching football matches, listening to the radio, and so on. This results from the fact that their active energies are fully taken up with work; if they had more leisure, they would again enjoy pleasures in which they took an active part.”
And that was 1932. If he only knew about the iPhone.
Anyway, it’s got me thinking – what do I pursue in my “free” time, and what purpose is it serving? What comes to mind first is yoga, which I think aligns well with the characteristics of active leisure. I like to make time to see friends too, which I think fulfills the social aspect. I don’t think I engage in play much, though. I think I have the desire to pursue active leisure, which is why I embark on mastering 1,742 new hobbies every year (and finish exactly 0). Remember the pink sweater?
It’s just such an interesting concept to me, and it’s been running through my mind for the past week. So I wanted to share and ask what you think! Do you like to engage in active leisure? Or is passive leisure more your jam? (P.S. I’m not at all saying one or the other is right or wrong, just v curious what others think.) It makes me wonder, if we worked just a little less and had energy to pursue more active leisure activities, what would our lives look like? Would we be happier? More fulfilled? Would our lives hold more purpose?
Fun musings for you on this Friday morning 😉 We’re headed to the lake with the Larkins this weekend and I cannot wait to hang out and drink coffee and eat delicious food (cooked by someone other than me).