The Future of Leisure
Hello, and welcome to Comparative Geeks! Another month in and another holiday, and the new site is going well. It’s been a real joy to bring you new content, like the podcast and my webcomic. It’s also been great to bring you opinion and fandom pieces from a variety of writers!
Today is my birthday, and if you’ve been following us a while you know that I like to write an opinion piece on my birthday, on a topic important to me. Which brings me to my topic, although to be fair I’ve already been on topic here the whole time: the future of leisure.
All this, here, on Comparative Geeks: both the things we’re talking about, and the writing itself, can be considered leisure activities. I wrestled recently with the definition of “hobby,” because I think that there’s a difference between a hobby and doing a leisure activity. I’ve recently been hearing the phrase “side hustle” and that seems like a closer definition for what this site is, which still gets us into the territory of having three defined sets of activities – outside of other categories like work, family time, religious activities, education, social activities, food, sleep… Oh, and travel time between it all.
Wow, there’s a lot of things we do to fill our time!
People who have a problem specifically with leisure activities think more time should be spent on some of these other categories of activities. Think of the stereotype of the asocial geek who just needs to get out and be more social, right? But more, it seems like people have trouble with what kinds of leisure activities people pursue, whether they are “practical” or not.
But I titled this about the future of leisure, and that’s more where things are now. People are all over the place balancing their time now, and we have to be. People have always needed to be balancing their time, but over the decades, over the generations, the balance has shifted. Work plateauing at lower levels, travel getting faster. More families without children or having children later. Two-earner households. Fewer people involved in religious activities. The Internet and other technologies allowing us to change how we do a lot of things, how long they take.
There are present trends that I see moving into the future. A big one is the move towards a Living Wage, as opposed to Minimum Wage. That’s going to do a lot to make it so that some jobs become technological instead of employees (well, more than now) – and will change the sort of work people are doing as well. And it will also hopefully make it so that fewer people are working multiple jobs. And projections that more and more jobs are going to require at least some college education. All that taken together, to me, means that people are going to have more time and maybe a little more money on their hands.
For me to say that leisure is going to change, however, I think there’s also a change in priorities that have to change. After all, with so many things calling for our time, there’s always something else we could be doing. But I think that the opportunity for more leisure will be there, and I think that there are also compelling reasons for leisure to be a choice.
You see, as the population, the number of people working, and the effects of globalization all increase, I also see another effect coming to the fore. And that is that there are going to be people doing all sorts of work. Some of that will be as a main job, some of that as a side hustle perhaps. To the extent that, if we’re all doing both work and practical activities with the rest of our time, we’re stepping on people’s toes – people who do those things for a living.
I’m not sure how far I think it might go, but we might reach a point where we should be paying someone to do our yards, to do work on our houses, to do everything to our cars… to clean our houses? To do all these things that we could be putting our off-time into, but which are also ways that people make their livelihoods. I mean, it’s already true now – but as it becomes more and more of the economy, I think it’s going to matter more and more.
And I see such interesting things, as we travel. Uber and ride-sharing. Air BnB and home-sharing. And things like ordering your groceries to be delivered to your home. Changes in work. Changes in how we approach life. Side-hustles and making money to do other things with. Transitions, I think, to a future we might not completely recognize. And in that future, I think that we are going to have leisure time – and I think that we need to embrace this fact, not mock the people that decide to pursue leisure.