May 22, 2018

No Leisure, No Life

I still can't tell if this is a joke, or not. I hope it is.

Making a living is not the same as having a life. To build a life worth living, one needs time for leisure.

I don't know about you, but I always thought that working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week 50 weeks a year was too much. Much too much. 

Now, with "labour saving" technology, one can be in permanent work mode. But why?

Soon labour saving will mean more than the appearance of cutting down on work, all the while increasing that work. It will mean cutting labour out entirely with AI and robots. Now there is a threat even worse than low paid workers in foreign countries.

"You don't like being in permanent work mode? You should feel lucky that you still have a job at all."

No thank you. I have lived simply for most of my life so I could avoid such an outcome. My reasoning was that the less I needed to buy, the less I needed to work. And the less I needed to work, the less dependent I was on the masters and their perpetual work demands. 

Unlike AI, to be human is to need leisure time. Messy, inconvenient, but true. Not working for a taskmaster means that I can indulge the amount of leisure time necessary to build a life. 

“The original meaning of the concept of “leisure” has practically been forgotten in today’s leisure-less culture of “total work”: in order to win our way to a real understanding of leisure, we must confront the contradiction that rises from our overemphasis on that world of work. 

The very fact of this difference, of our inability to recover the original meaning of “leisure,” will strike us all the more when we realize how extensively the opposing idea of “work” has invaded and taken over the whole realm of human action and of human existence as a whole.”
- Joseph Pieper

I got out of debt. I saved as much as I could. Then, at the earliest possible date, I quit the endless work world.

Now I do what I want to do, which is most certainly not virtually attending a meeting while I am on "holiday" or in the bathroom, or while out with friends, or in bed.

If you have to work while on vacation, it isn't a vacation. If you have to work all the time, you are not getting the leisure time you need. 

No leisure, no life. Living more simply is one way to get the time you need, and deserve.


  1. Anonymous5/22/2018

    What a terrifying graphic. 19% have worked when on the toilet? 27% when they are out to eat? This is nuts, and disgusting. But also, its false - at least I would think so. Look who created the graphic - Microsoft. They are telling us this is what people do, so by golly, YOU should be doing the same? Don't you want what is best for your future and your family? Don't you want to buy our products so you can do this too? Just so disturbing. But yeah, I agree with you, I do hope this is a joke. - Mary

    1. Mary,

      Joke or not, either way it is not funny. It still represents the attitude that we should always be working. Anything less is lazy, unambitious, and subversive.

      Successful people wear their brutal work schedules like badges of honour, like there is nothing else to life.

      What happened to all that leisure time people were promised so many years ago? Technology killed it.

  2. Anonymous5/23/2018

    I only work part time (20-25 hrs. per wk.), however, my boss does not like me to take time off... (it is just the two of us, with much reliance on volunteers.)
    I'm just wondering how you & Linda have managed the health insurance/healthcare expense? I must admit that is my main reason to continue at this job.
    I'm not old enough for medicare & the healthcare is so expensive in the USA, both insurance & medical care that insurance does not cover.
    My husband has health insurance for both of us through his employer, but not without a lot of out of pocket expense.

    1. Linda,

      We live in Canada. Health care is publicly funded. We do still have out of pocket expenses related to Linda's condition, but they have been minimal so far. I don't know how we would cope in a private health care system.

      Up till now we have not had to see a doctor for much of anything, and consider ourselves to be fortunate in that regard. But we are entering into older age, a time when health becomes more of an issue.

      We eat a plant based diet, live a low stress lifestyle, stay hydrated, refrain from alcohol, and get as much sleep as we need. That helps, but who knows what the future will bring.

      Good health to you and your hubby.

  3. When you don't work for money, it takes awhile to reset your mind. My current tasks are nurturing, creating, home-making, volunteering and learning. If you work while attending your child's event you might get a check mark but you are not truly present. Sometimes it is costly for a child to be in an activity. Maybe the better solution is to work less and actually play with, read to, or listen to your child. Work less and cook at home. Quit paying for TV, work less and read a library book. The people in the graphic are working all the time to pay for a life that they are barely experiencing.

    1. Annie,

      That is right, by trying to do both one is not honouring the work, or the children and other tasks. Linda and I are into "single-tasking" and being in the moment.

      We also found that after paid work it takes time to reset. It took me years to get over the feeling that what I was doing was not worthy because it wasn't paid work. That is how brainwashed we all are when it comes to what work means.

      As a caregiver, I am working all the time. But because it is outside of economic activity, it is not seen as "real" work. But if I was a caregiver in a long term facility, and getting paid, THEN it would be something. Same goes with parenting, home keeping, and pretty much everything else that is done for reasons other than monetary gain.

      Even learning for the sake of learning is frowned upon. It must lead to a JOB or it is seen as a waste of time. Deprogramming ones self from this tyranny is a survival strategy, because the system will eat you up and spit you out, and move on to the next drone.

      Rant over. We can appreciate what you are doing, and support it fully. Thank you for sharing your intentional living situation with us.

  4. Anonymous5/23/2018

    Oh, God, please let this be a joke - but I know for a fact that one aspect of it is not. Recently, I was in a restroom stall at a store, doing what one does, when the woman in the stall next to mine barked at me, "DO YOU MIND? I'm on a conference call here!!" i will mercifully draw the curtain on the rest of this scene, but needless to say, I was, um, taken aback. People, please. We need to step back and chill a bit. Bathrooms are sacred! Sophie

  5. Anonymous5/24/2018

    A friend had an interesting take on this. Because people are over-consuming (including having a bigger, better house than necessary), they are mostly in debt. That means they cannot afford to lose the job they have, and so work overtime to try and keep it. Once a certain amount of people became willing to do this overtime to support their debt, it became the new accepted standard that bosses expect.

    Sad but true, I have a colleague who is often seen running across campus with his laptop open in front of him. He can also be spotted in the lunch room with said lap top. Someone I know recently got a job where they had to sign a contract agreeing to do any extra work as needed without any extra pay. Crikey, what sort of a world a we living in? It is in a business that brings in very large sums of money, but rather than pay for more staff they keep their profits and flog the staff they already employ.

    I am self-employed, and years ago foolishly gave clients my mobile phone number. I received phone calls on Sunday mornings early, Friday nights late, and just about any time you could think of. I changed the phone number! I have had to discipline myself to only answer emails during my work day, even though people sometimes feel their email deserves an urgent response. As I am not providing a life-saving service it's unlikely that an answer is really needed outside of business hours.

    Gregg, I hear you when you say unpaid work is undervalued. I experienced this when I stayed home with my young children, and am again experiencing this when I talk of future plans to just 'work in and on my life' rather than working for money. People really don't get voluntary simplicity/poverty, and sadly they also don't realise the value of their own precious life which they are selling for money.


  6. What revolting statistics. I replied to this post yesterday actually, however my elderly laptop ate my post and the irony in that has not escaped me. :-0
    I make every effort to deliberately keep a low tech household and keep our expenses low so we no longer need to do paid work as much as before. Our children are our priority as is enjoying our quieter (but more enjoyable-y busier) lifestyle in the country.
    I would be a true disappointment to both Microsoft and possibly to some sectors of society too...but I'm ok with that.
    Gregg- your lifestyle sounds awesome actually.

  7. Anonymous5/25/2018

    I can so relate to this:
    "...after paid work it takes time to reset. It took me years to get over the feeling that what I was doing was not worthy because it wasn't paid work. That is how brainwashed we all are when it comes to what work means."
    I am currently between jobs and it is giving me time to think about what paid work means in my life. I've felt guilt for not bringing home large amounts of money, sure. But I find that I have plenty to do in keeping our home in order, caring for our dog companion, and organizing our social life. It will be interesting to see how things change once I am back working full-time! My hope is that this experience will come with me and I will value my unpaid work just as much as my paid work. Thanks for the attention to this topic. Very good! -Erin


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