Is it work or leisure?

I tend to do similar things whether I’m working or taking time off. I read, write, and share what I’m learning.

Mortimer Adler helps us understand this sameness and difference. He does it by thinking of six parts of life — sleep (including all biologically necessities), toil or labor (to earn a “living”), leisure (doing something in that is not making a living), play or amusement, idling (not idleness), and rest (resting). Adler notes that two of the six parts of life can include work — labor and leisure.

When I read, write, and share for Prosper Waco, plus other things, it is toward two specific ends — providing for the needs of my family and helping Prosper Waco accomplish its purposes. My need for a sustaining livelihood matches with the organization’s need to get certain things done. When those two things align in meaningful ways, then a person is truly fortunate, which I am.

When I read, write, and share for leisure, it is toward other ends — satisfying my desires to learn about life and to help others in the same quest. I am not writing this article to earn a living; I am writing it because I ran across something interesting that I thought others might like to learn and think about.

Sometimes I have wondered if I’m really resting when I’m doing such things in my leisure. The answer is, yes. And it because it’s for a different purpose. Doing this in my leisure is what “makes me tick.”

My dad did the same thing but in a different way. After he retired at age 55, he worked everyday of his remaining life. This latter work with on his farm and with his livestock. They were the things that made my dad tick.

Sometimes in my leisure, I do not read, write, and share; I just veg out. I lose myself in watching a football game or movie. But the more and more I become rested, I start gravitating to mind work. It starts with reading, then comes writing, and when I write I tend to share.

And when this happens, I know I am mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. Then I have to remember that I also need to be physically healthy; I have to get up and move, sometimes to accomplish something and other times just for the sake of moving, as in the walks I take.

So, since I’m writing this in my leisure, you know that I am in a good place. Plus, I’ve already had one walk today and more will come.

Find your leisure; it may look very different from mine, but you may appear to others to be very, very busy. It’s the kind of busy, however, that feeds your soul.

[The Mortimer Adler material about the six parts of life is in his book, A Vision of the Future: Twelve Ideas for a Better Life and a Better Society (New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1984), pp. 11-12.]

Copyright © 2020 Ferrell Foster

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