I come from a family that is not accustomed to leisure. My parents are the kind of folks who work more than one job and can only be found home for a certain time. I don’t ever remember them having a real vacation. When my mom is off from work during her vacation days, she usually stays home. My father’s idea of leisure is listening to music in the basement, and inviting a family member or friend to indulge with him for a short time in drinking booze. When a new week begins, he heads back to work.
My parents have promised a family vacation to Liberia for over four years now, and a family vacation to Disney World for as long as I can remember being with them. The trip to Liberia will probably come, but I doubt we’ll ever go to Disney World as a family.
I am not one that finds it easy to incorporate leisure activities in my life either. I usually tell myself that I will do something fun doing holidays, breaks, or vacations; but usually end up at home–not doing too much of anything. Besides, leisure is expensive. One of the things I like to do is play tennis, but if I want to do that in the winter I have to pay $50.00 a day to use an indoor tennis court near town. I am a college student; I don’t have that kind of money.
I do try to incorporate much more cost-practical activities other than school work in my scholastic schedule (like writing this blog), but comes time for finals as it is now, all my time and energy gets devoted to work. I stop exercising, stop reading, stop writing short stories…and begin to focus solely on work until what I need to get done is done.
However, I do realize the importance of leisure. We need time to rest and do the things we love so that we could rejuvenate ourselves. We need to take a break from all the business so that when we get back to our jobs, we will feel refreshed and the more ready to do our best at work.
I am not sure how much of my family’s failure to include leisure in our lives have to deal with culture. We come from Liberia, a war-torn country. In my opinion, people there do not realize the importance of leisure. By doing anything leisurely, one may be accused of being overly extravagant, lazy, or extremely rich and snobbish. The country is in a state of recovery from years of civil wars; one could only imagine that the average person cannot afford the luxuries of vacations or other leisurely activities.
Sometimes I wonder if this is the reason the children in Third World Countries have such a hard time being academically or professionally successful, and in turn, I wonder if this impacts these countries ability to improve.
The children simply are not given enough time to play and be kids. Unlike most kids in wealthy countries, they are born into a world where the question of “what shall I play with?” is the least of their worries, and their biggest worries are “what will I eat today?”
When people basic needs are met, including the need to rest and relax, they are more successful and productive.