fun leisure

The Art of Leisure: Having Real Fun

10:35:00 AMUnknown

As a second semester senior in college, I knew that my last Spring Break was going to be a much-needed vacation from the hustle and bustle of school work, papers, reading, work, and late nights without a lot of sleep.

I was right. It was break from the craziness. But more importantly, it was full of quality leisure and rest. It was fun.

During my Spring Break, I traveled back home to Michigan to be with my family and fiancé.  I made a homemade meal and a massive batch of apple crisp. I watched old musicals and drank cheap red wine. I sat with my siblings and laughed till I cried recalling funny childhood memories. I shopped around at thrift stores for earrings to wear at my wedding. I took my little sisters out for popcorn and hot chocolate at a random gas station. I attended stations of the cross at my home parish and brought freshly baked cornbread to the potluck afterwards. I hopped in my car for late night trips to the chapel.
Sometimes I forget how fun life can be. This got me thinking. Yes, I do have plenty of commitments that eat up my time. Yes, I have school work and jobs and responsibilities. But I cannot forget to live in the present and enjoy life. I need to remember this, especially as I graduate and look toward the rest of my adult life.

What kind of self-culture do I want to cultivate? One that screams nothing but work?

Yes, there will be jobs, late nights, mortgage payments, and stress. Even now, I constantly feel guilty about hanging out with friends; I could be doing something productive, or I could be praying. Over Spring Break, I came to ask myself: what constitutes the quality of my life? How do I live in the present? Enjoy every moment?

I must be ready to seek out the good every day. I must keep in mind my eternal end, my final destination. I must do my work with prudence and diligence, but not feel bad about enjoying life. I must have leisure to do the things I love. Josef Pieper writes: “leisure is an attitude of the mind and a condition of the soul that fosters a capacity to perceive the reality of the world. Religion can only be born in leisure; a time that allows for contemplation of the nature of God. Leisure has been, and always will be, the first foundation of any culture.”

Human persons cannot have toil without hope, work without rest. But is our rest nothing more than a preparation for the next day’s work? Our rest cannot be merely relaxation or mindless amusement. Having leisure means having quality time for contemplation, celebration, and fun.
I must stop thinking in terms of productivity and start living in the present, where true leisure happens. Living in the present does not mean procrastinating. It does not mean mentally pushing off responsibilities or being frivolous. It means encountering people, loving, and enjoying the zest of life. It means being transformed by the experiences we live, the people we meet, the conversations we have.

When we live in the present, we are grateful. We are thankful in the moment because we can recognize the beauty and dignity around us. The present is where reality happens. We exist. We love. We delight.

So yes, go ahead and plan your life, your work, and your future. Plan so you can thoroughly enjoy and savor the good things of life.

Let us cultivate and renew our work-obsessed culture so that we truly may appreciate the beauty and goodness around us, even in an hour or two of fun and relaxation. 

Let us have leisure so that “man, ‘who is born to work’, may truly be transported out of the weariness of daily labor into an unending holiday, carried out of the straightness of the workaday world into the heart of the universe.”

For it is only in leisure, in contemplation, and in reflection that a culture can come to understand the presence of God, and respond in true joy and worship to the Ultimate Cause of all good things.


Theresa Corgan  

I am a world-ranked Irish dancer, aspiring painter and drawer, truth seeker and coffee drinker.  I study Humanities and Catholic Culture and Philosophy.  I would love to teach high school students and challenge them to become philosophers in their own right.  I also want an Irish dance studio, a painting studio and a bunch of children named after my favorite saints.  


Josef Pieper. The Art of Leisure.


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  1. hi,
    you probably pasted the text from other draft document, since the pictures didn't went through...


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