The need for leisure in modern society

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Teresa Mull
Contributing Writer

Modern society is suffocating our childhoods, simultaneously accelerating and lowering the “coming of age,” depriving us of youth, and rushing our lives into premature maturity. I propose we begin a revolt of the most passive means. Let us renounce the contemporary world’s ambitious influence and achieve longevity through leisure!

Forget the customary “Grand Tour” of our post-graduate great-great-grandfathers. College students these days have all fallen victim to the oppressive yoke of society, which assures us all with dooming pressure that if we haven’t completed at least a couple focused internships by our junior years, our careers and chances at worldly success are all “dissolution and despair!” The modern world is obsessed with immediacy, as evidenced daily by the instantaneous sensationalism of news outlets and constant up-to-the-second alerts of various social media. But to what noble end, if any, the majority of  these aggressive informants are striving with their “status updates,” “news feeds,” burgeoning blogs and streaming “tweets,” one can hardly tell.

Do you ever find yourself involuntarily pondering the most frivolous things at the prompting of your e-mail home page or because you allowed Facebook to lead you to view a valueless dispatch? On your own, would the outcome of Kim Kardashian’s multi-million dollar engagement ring ever have been a concern for your intellectual mind to mull? Or would it ever have occurred to you to wonder, independently, how excited for the weekend that eccentric boy from high-school homeroom is?

It is important to stay informed about the current events of the world, but there is a time and a place for everything, and the time to be updated is not “always” and the place is not “everywhere.” To improve ourselves and, by default, the society in which we take part, I suggest implementing some of the slower-paced traditions that added charm to the attractive culture of a bygone age.

Devote a part of every day to a reflective period un-intruded upon by 500 of your cyber friends and a million internet-frenzied wastrels. Calm down the rush of life by dedicating some portion of time to sweet ceremony. With the tendency of technology to provide for us instant gratification, it seems we have almost lost the joy of looking forward to things. The following are some suggestions for implementing daily leisure, “the basis of culture:”

1. Make time pass slowly by creating occasions. There is a reason Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was such a calm and cheerful place – enough so as to make him sing about changing his shoes! Try relaxing with a ceremonious cup of afternoon tea, or, though I am not recommending alcohol as a form of relief, consider cocktail hour as a pleasant way to concoct, consume and get collected.

2. Abandon immediacy and calm yourself by listening to music without words. Your mind can do its own thinking rather than be influenced by songs insisting that “it’s all about tonight” and imploring us to “dance, dance like it’s the last, last night of your life.” There’s a reason Classical 101.1 calls its rush-hour show the “Road Rage Remedy.”

3. Read something tangible (you’re off to a great start here!) and indulge in an impressing movie. The Hollywood trend these days appears to be “quantity over quality,” and honestly, when was the last time you saw a movie in theaters or read a modern book that stuck with you? Find something pre-1980 that is distinguishable and unforgettable.

4. Take a bath, or better yet, a sunbath, and bask in God’s radiant nature! Take a walk, take a hike, and go fly a kite.

5.  Write a letter – a real expression of yourself to another person, devoid of abbreviations and limited not by a maximum number of “characters” but by the size of your paper and the endurance of your hand.  Is it not sad to think of the brevity and elusiveness that are our human interactions when they occur prevailingly through the untouchable world of the world wide web?  In the future, how will we be touched by the sentiments of our past kindred relationships if we possess from them nothing physical to touch with our own hands?

We are pummeled daily by the “nowness” of everything, and if we are not careful, we will fast-forward ourselves to a very sudden and vapid end. Appreciate things – for mental development as well as personal satisfaction.

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