What is the cost of leisure? What is the value of our time? The decisions we make about our free time say more about us than our long-term commitments. This is because our leisure is entirely free will, it rarely has much outside force acting upon it. It seems logical that we could pin the surge of individualism in recent decades on the ever-growing amount of leisure time we enjoy. Officially we Americans have a 40 hour work week, but studies show that we average more like 38 hours per week. This gives us all increasingly more time to develop ourselves through leisure.
So what do we do with our 168 hours a week? In the past week, I personally have spent my time 33 hours at work; 12 hours in class; 9.5 hours commuting; 2.5 hours concerning daily hygiene; 3 hours in church; 50 hours asleep; 2 hours eating/preparing food; a half hour on the phone; and 4 hours studying outside of class. This leaves me with only 41.5 hours of leisure time. Less than two days of time for my free use. And what do I do with that time? Too much of it is spent on social media, much of it is spent reading and writing (books, blogs, articles, etc.), precious little of it is spent with friends and family, I enjoy movies, and regularly go to a couple of meetings for extracurricular organizations.
Now, I’ve mentioned more than enough to completely fill a week’s worth of time. I have yet to even mention what I am passionate about. Among these activities: my work as a challenge course instructor, and my love for backpacking and the outdoors. So where I use my free time comes with significant opportunity cost. Sometimes I give up sleep to watch a movie, skip a meal to study for a test, go to the adoration chapel rather than class, occasionally I’ll even ask for a weekend off work to go camping. The point is that it’s all important (otherwise, why is it in my life?), and we’re defined by what we choose to do, not what we could do. So what does your leisure say about you?