As Vice President of Shirkery for makeyourbreakaway.com and 2 Heads, one of my top career–and continuing education–goals is to perfect the art and practice of leisure. And to pass it on. Fortunately, I’m not alone. There are even consultants like Alison Link whose job is to coach the leisure-challenged on how to find more fun and balance. Marci Alboher of the New York Times conducted an insightful interview with Ms. Link. Please read it–at your leisure, of course.
When conducting workshops or just chatting about Sabbaticals, I’ve been blown away by the number of people who want free time, but also proudly proclaim that they are workaholics.
When I ask, “What’s the closest thing you’ve had to a Sabbatical?” the answers range from bar-hopping to an hour of gardening to maternity leave. Tough crowd. It’s not easy to inspire such un-slacking un-seekers. And yet Ms. Link validates that the value of leisure can be found in small doses:
Leisure has many different definitions — some involving time, some relating to an activity being done, some relating to state of mind. Personally, I am most at leisure when I feel free, present and integrated. I like this definition for myself because it allows me to experience leisure at any moment, even in just a few minutes.”
Knowing that so many people see the world through “What do you do?” glasses, Ms. Link also asserts that leisure deserves an elevated place in one’s self-perception:
Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t define ourselves by our work? It should be just as valid to define ourselves by our leisure.”
And finally, my favorite suggestion (and the genesis behind this website) is that leisure is worth planning for. It may not just happen. Work usually does, oddly enough. But whether it’s bowling night or pottery lessons or taking a year off, you need to sketch and scheme to make leisure work for you.
We need to plan for leisure — perhaps by doing one small thing every day, identifying long- and short-term leisure goals, putting enjoyable activities on the calendar — like we do other aspects of life.”
Thanks, Ms. Link, for helping us see the leisure light. When people feel more free and at ease, they help make the world a better place. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go cram for an upcoming Leisure Studies exam. Because believe it or not,
I’ve been shirking the completion of my own Masters in Leisure Studies for most of my adult life…*
* Actually, I do hold a MALS degree from Hamline University in St. Paul. While it actually stands for Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, it took me nine years to complete the dang thing–and to realize that it does NOT stand for Masters in Leisure Studies.