In a world of digital fatigue, engaging in a meaningful hobby can help you cut through the noise and create meaning for the rest of your life. Finding something to engage in that is “serious leisure” can pay dividends for your future. Jason McGill, Vanderbilt ’08, resides in Indianapolis and works in clinical field operations. Here’s Brother McGill’s take on how to create meaning through leisure.
Robert Stebbins, a sociologist at the University of Calgary, makes an important distinction between casual leisure — things like watching Netflix, throwing a Frisbee — and serious leisure. Casual leisure is fun and necessary, but serious leisure requires active thinking and can become a meaningful part of your life. Stebbins defines serious leisure as a “pursuit of amateur, hobbyist or volunteer activity substantial enough to express a combination of special skills, knowledge and experience.”
Serious leisure requires you to learn and grow, and is similar to experiential learning. Things like learning to use a 3D printer or volunteering for a political candidate will bring you a sense of accomplishment and uniqueness. In fact, it’s a good sign if you take up an activity and aren’t good at it immediately. Engaging in serious leisure will make you more creative and innovative in all areas of your life, and in fact, it can reduce your risk of depression and obesity!
Why is leisure so important now? In times of chaos, if you can create a framework you can live out that creates value and meaning for you, you will be well-equipped to live and lead when we return to normalcy. While you’re in college, SigEp and your classes are providing a built-in framework for experiential learning. When you leave a university setting, you’ll need to create this framework for a balanced life on your own.
So, find something you enjoy that isn’t focused on productivity and requires you to think actively. If you spend a little time developing a skill or a habit that brings you meaning, you’ll be better off for it.
You can view Brother McGill’s IGTV video here.