Active vs. passive leisure

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One of the curiosities of the modern age is that technology has made it possible for us to be entertained with very little effort on our part.

In my opinion, this is not a good thing. When we sit in front of a computer screen or a television, we are observers rather than participants. This is especially tempting at the end of a long day, but a good night’s sleep would do more for the mental and physical fatigue we feel.

I’ve been trying to reduce my passive-activity footprint a bit lately, mainly because it no longer felt like a helpful part of my life. I’m not a TV-watcher, or that much of a movie-watcher either, but I do spend far too much time on the Internet.

So, what to do instead? Putting aside for a moment the definitely-not-leisure-oriented To-Do List From Hell, a brain dump of assorted short-term and long-term projects I want to finish, things are improving. Last week I drove outside city limits to do some astronomical observing with my binoculars. I’m reading more often, travelling more often, practising clarinet and several other instruments a bit more. Every second Thursday is writer’s group, and although I use the computer to contact the group members and to upload a finished piece, pen and paper works just fine for the actual writing.

And spending quality time out in the garden definitely qualifies — even if “clean up the garden” is an item on my diabolical to-do list. If you’re having fun, it counts.

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