The rapid and radical scientific and technological advancements have made life easy and convenient. Our life is now far more free and leisurely than it was for our forefathers. Affluence and ease have brought more leisure hours. We are relieved of much of drudgery now and have more spare hours to relieve us of fatigue. The housewife too, now has more free time as there are many labour-saving devices at her disposal. Consequently, all of us can now enjoy long hours of rest, relaxation, joy, diversion and entertainment. All work and no play would certainly make Jack a dull boy. Leisure is a kind of insurance against dullness, fatigue, boredom, tension and cares of life. After hours of work and struggle, we need some rest, relaxation, joy, respite, freshness and a kind of brief holiday.
Leisure helps us in keeping our body and mind toned up, healthy and refreshed. Some time devoted to regular diversions, or hobbies, is bound to strengthen and refresh us in more than one way for better achievements in our respective fields of life. The five-day a week work culture gives us a lot of spare time to spend in recreation, rest, hobbies, simple and innocent joys of life and intellectual and artistic activities.
But for many, leisure may be a problem as they may not know how to use and enjoy their spare time. For them leisure may be more boring and monotonous than the daily routine occupation. Leisure is like a double-edged sword which can be either used well or misused. A person can be best judged by the way he or she uses the leisure hours. It never means frittering away the precious time in drinking, gambling or idle gossiping. It should be viewed as a golden opportunity and used I for healthy enjoyment, intellectual, spiritual, cultural and artistic pursuits. One may spend this time in playing with children, J listening to their stories or in observing nature and birds.
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. The right use of leisure hours can help us in shaping and developing our personality in the desired way. It is really condemnable to spend leisure without a definite plan to have purposeful gains. Leisure provides us a rare opportunity to satisfy our inner demands, j By means of our regular occupations and professions; we satisfy our physical and material demands. Now, during leisure we can very well satisfy our artistic, cultural, aesthetic, intellectual and spiritual urges. We can devote our spare hours to reading, writing, playing a musical instrument or in the pursuit of some meaningful creative and socially relevant activity. There are many hobbies to choose from. We may select from these according to our aptitude and resources, etc.
Once we have made a judicious selection, we can make our leisure really interesting, meaningful and worthwhile. All cultural and aesthetical achievements and improvements arise from leisure. It helps people in becoming whole, integrated and cultured. During these precious moments of respite, relaxation, rest and diversion, one can stand and stare at things beautiful, j ponder on the meaning of life and turn one’s life into a real asset.
Different people spend leisure differently. Some may occupy themselves in gardening, photography, reading or playing outdoor or indoor games. Others may busy themselves in playing with children or in enjoying music.
In modern times, viewing television is becoming more and more popular. In western countries people spend roughly 45% of their leisure hours in front of their T.V. sets. In India also more and more people spend their time before their T.V. sets, viewing films, popular serials or other programmes. Women and children too are enthusiastic viewers of television programmes in India. But watching T.V. for long hours has its inherent risks as it is a passive entertainment and there is no participation by the viewers in it.
Short work weeks and automation of activities have resulted in more leisure and spare time. And with this, the danger of mental dissipation, flirtation and killing of time in idle entertainment have increased. Success and purposefulness of leisure is as important as that of our employment or vocational pursuits. Leisure can be a means of both our elevation, enrichment, improvement of sensibilities and degradation, fall, moral dissipation and flirtation. Leisure in itself is neither good nor bad. It is its use that makes it good or bad. No doubt all intellectual improvement arises from leisure but too much and too frequent leisure makes a poet cry:
Leisure is pain; takes off our chariot wheels, how heavily we drag the load of life Blest leisure is our curse; like that of Cain, It makes us wander, wander earth around To fly that tyrant thought.
Therefore, leisure with purpose and meaningfulness should be our aim for has not Cicero, the famous Roman statesman said, “The thing which is the most outstanding and chiefly to be desired by all healthy and good and well-off persons is leisure with honour.” If we stick to the principle of “leisure with honour” then it would be no problem at all. We must be alert and watchful against the abuse of leisure.