Engaged in leisure

Engaged in leisure, I can dig a ditch in my yard to make way for some landscaping project; this requires energy, more than my economic job. It is, however, outside the economic system in the usual way in which I relate myself to that system. It is, obviously, not altogether unrelated to economics per se, for my "labor of love" may deprive a professional worker in these lines of employment.


With this element we eliminate all enforced leisure, such as unemployment, imprisonment, or sickness, and we include a psychological attitude moving both forward and backward in time. It is impossible to divorce "vacation," for instance, from the expectation, planning, daydreaming, savings, packing, or excitement of going away. Such looking ahead often makes the routine of life more bearable, for then work periods are seen as means toward life and living. Similarly, the recollection of the vacation or leisure activity is often inaccurate, colored by the idealization fostered in the preparatory stage. Research would probably show that many persons on vacation enjoy themselves and look back favorably upon their experience because they cannot emotionally afford to contradict their past hopes and projections. As a matter of fact, attitude and expectancy do influence the actual itself.


Social role, from the many positions or obligations he has achieved in his society or that he has been given by it: citizen, father, friend, carpenter, Protestant, Mason, and so on. He is only one John Smith who plays or possesses many roles. Part of the adjustment, maturity, normality, or personality he is credited with by everyone else is defined by how he behaves in each of these roles and, more important, how he combines or synthesizes them all into the one social being known as John Smith. In each of the many circles he touches Smith has rights and obligations (voting, supporting his wife, etc.). Leisure activity, too, may have many obligations, from making toys for his children (every father should) to going on trips with his wife (a good husband should). These are obligations, however, that he is more likely to assume voluntarily, and with pleasanter expectations, than, for example, going to work on January 2, to which he is formally committed and for a long period of time. Theoretically, he has greater freedom in deciding whether to be with his family in his off time. The observer from the outside can, in specific cases, question such self-deception; yet John Smith, himself, is the one who perceives his relative freedoms and acts in accordance with his perceptions

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