Get up. Get dressed. Work. Study. Go Home. Sleep.
How many of us unconsciously follow this routine? In the highly industrialized and globalized world we have today, people neglect to appreciate the purpose of leisure. They work day and night, stuck in traffic, heads stuck on their phones, music blasting on their earphones and always at full steam ahead like they are late for everything in life. What they don’t realize is that they are not late for anything, they have just missed life happening.
Leisure was a word I always heard of growing up. My Mom had strict rules when it came to summer breaks and holidays: no studying. As a kid who loved her books, I was quite disappointed that I can’t stay and just read. While my friends went on academic programs honing them for the next grade, I was in guitar class, bádminton practice, art class, swimming lessons and even cooking lessons. From an early age, I learned that there should be a time for studying but there should also be a time to pursue your passions. As I look back at my life in school up until college, I unconsciously brought this with me as I went on with my life. There never came a time that I was just studying full-time, there would always be these extracurricular activities I go to after school.
I never tried to understand why I do what I do until recently. Back when I underwent the Certified Training Program during the WYA Asia Pacific Summer Camp in Subic, it was only then I encountered the word leisure again. In Chapter 6 on the History of Ideas, an excerpt from the work of Josef Pieper Only the Lover Sings discusses what leisure is and the importance of leisure in one’s holistic growth. Pieper started out in defining what is work, spare time and leisure. Work is what one does to provide means for daily living and doing something for a purpose, spare time to simply put it is when one is taking a break from work and leisure is when one engages in meaningful activities that makes one reflect on life and attain realizations.
Subtly justifying why I would be doing something most of the time, from helping making costumes, painting props, relishing quiet time in the laboratory and playing sports, any time away from my books gave me a chance to see more about the world, meet people and get creative. It takes my mind off the worries and gives me just enough distraction to actually see where I am at in my study plan. Somehow taking some time away from work allows your system to restart and regain some perspective on what you are doing and where you are going.
In a broader spectrum, I decided on this topic for my last blog as a Headquarters Intern mainly because of the time I spent here in New York. Watching how people live their lives as fast paced as the city always made me wonder what would it be like if they were to take a break and to slow down. This was where I saw another perspective of the purpose of leisure. It doesn’t only serve as a break from studying but a break from life. It would make you think about where you are and where you want to go in your career, family life, and so much more. In a panorama of bustling city streets, pedestrians’ fast paced walking, subway train tracks rattling, cars honking and everything in between, I gained some perspective on where I actually want to go in my life. I thank all the commotion in New York for it has led me to realize that silence does wonders for the soul and a single conversation may change everything.
Written by Jenn Margarette Bordon, a current WYA Headquarters’ intern from the Philippines.