I was listening to a podcast the other day about health and, more specifically, a healthy mindset surrounding food, eating, and exercise. I am repeatedly reminding myself to eat more healthfully, exercise more frequently and wisely, and so on, and so on, blah, blah, blah. These reminders don’t seem to do too much good and the podcast turned on a light for me. The guest mentioned, somewhat in passing, that we in the modern age have lost the art of leisure. Leisure is all about time for relaxation and enjoying a respite from time-consuming duties and responsibilities. I imagine a group of European friends cooking a simple yet delicious feast savoured with a few bottles of wine followed by a long stroll and good conversation a la “Before Midnight”. I certainly do have free time but I’m not sure the way I’m spending it could be consider “artful” (does binge-watching Frasier count?).
The way I “relax,” often by avoiding responsibilities or even putting off personal projects I’m looking forward to, usually leaves me with a quiet but gnawing anxiety in the back of my mind. This type of leisure actually takes from me instead of making me a better, more fulfilled person. It also leads to binge-eating delicious snack foods… while watching Frasier. Whenever I decide instead to read, walk instead of taking the bus, finally take out the recycling, plant some herbs, or take my time cooking (and eating), I enjoy each moment much more and certainly find myself connecting more with the people around me. The giant black box in my living room, along with Feedly and Pinterest, still calls my name but I’m working on it. Now I’m off to eat a delicious home-cooked shepherd’s pie while watching Frasier. Baby steps, folks.