The beautiful (and also scary) thing about writing is that I am at liberty to write about anything and everything. Writing about nothing is also an option. Which some (a lot of) people choose to do. We won’t name any names… Today, I would like to write about leisure. The importance of which you would not know by looking at its place on the average person’s priority list. That is, the average person in modern society. However, it couldn’t be more important. Our lives depend on it. Literally.
Let’s approach this pragmatically. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. According to theheartfoundation.org, it will be the leading cause of death in the world by 2020. What are the primary contributing factors? Clogged coronary arteries and hypertension (high blood pressure). The factors associated with these two things? Poor diet and lack of exercise. What is the number one reason a person eats poorly and does not have, nor takes, the time to exercise? My answer based upon observation: The demands, expectations, and responsibilities of the modern-day working lifestyle.
In short: stress. Some may argue that not eating well and remaining sedentary is simply laziness. They may be right. Although, I believe it is more than that. I believe the societal pressures of “more” and “better” are sapping time and energy from people who are struggling to survive in a world where success is measured by status and the size of one’s bank roll. Leisure is the new lazy, and it’s a hot trend that everyone is following. We are living life in the fast lane, and it’s killing us.
Those who take time to stop and smell the roses are overtaken by the unhappy, scowling people with large pension funds racing towards retirement. These people who are striving for this phantom idea of a better life are actually missing life in the interim.
Let me be clear: my suggestion is not that everyone throws caution to the wind, quits their job, and forsakes all responsibility. My plea is for balance. If you happen to be passionate about monetary success, by all means pursue it. In the meantime, however, take time to slow down, examine your priorities, and put that which is fleeing and without depth down a few notches on your list. Extend the quantity and quality of your life by taking care of (all facets of) yourself. Remind the people in your life of your love for them and the important role they each play. Try doing nothing but the unnecessary and enjoyable for a whole day. For, ironically, that which is enjoyable IS necessary.
This may all come across as an oversimplification, but that’s just it, isn’t it? Complicated is stressful. Take time to breathe and you may just save your life.