Leisure In American Culture

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Life is stressful. Saturated with work, bills, family, obligations, maintenance of property, one’s health, and life’s list of responsibilities goes on and on. Leisure is sometimes used as a generic term, but the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines leisure as, “freedom provided by the cessation of activities; especially: time free from work or duties” (Merriam-Webster).
Leisure allows for recuperation and individual growth, a necessity throughout history and yet the old maxim, all things in moderation, still holds true. Cultures across the centuries, and around the world developed many different leisure practices, but it wasn’t until after the industrial revolution that expansive swathes of the population increasingly had the time, and resources
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The abridged version of these mindsets is; leisure may be the least important preoccupation in our lives, the second mentality is, leisure is paramount. Coincidentally, both of these views function to a point, yet they ultimately fall short. Answering the first position, rest is necessary to produce quality performances at work, and maintain relationships at home. Excessive leisure will ensure nothing gets done, including self-improvement, and achieving one’s potential. Leisure is often sacrificed in America today in order to become more productive, moreover, an entire industry made up of lecturing experts, apps that manage schedules, or priorities, and other offerings to maximize one’s efficiency. As is the case in many instances of extreme behavior, extreme productivity provides diminishing returns according to Stanford economic writer Eric Roberts. Roberts elucidates that due to overwork an individual may inadvertently make mistakes that would require time outside of normal production times to correct, driving up costs (Stanford Edu). Without rest, people risk potential depression, or other health complications which can lead to general performance issues. According to Po Bronson at Time Magazine, people have an extra 45 minutes more than they had 40 years ago despite their hectic schedules,…show more content…
Overwork has many obvious downsides, some of which have been discussed here, but excessive leisure can cause dissatisfaction with life, becoming the mirror-image of working too much. Hard work can provide a person with pride in their accomplishments, while too much play can keep one from experiencing that wondrous gift to oneself. Monetary costs are inherently connected with too much leisure, time away from work is an obvious one, also the cost of the equipment, and potential travel expenses can be potentially prohibitive. These costs can eventually become a stress in a person’s life to the point of creating contention within a family. Another, more devious problem with excessive leisure is the risk people put themselves in when their time is unoccupied with productive tasks. In, Thoughts thinking thoughts, Jill Fellows summarizes Maynard Keynes thoughts on leisure in the future, “He told us that we would need to be able to be comfortable with living itself in order to avail ourselves of the opportunities opened by leisure without suffering a nervous breakdown”. This thought highlights the problems that boredom creates, out of which comes the proverb, “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop”(The Living Bible Proverbs
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