January 20 2017
Happiness

In Search of Leisure

“In a word pleasure… my pleasure in other people’s leisure.”  -Spud

When I hear people say they don’t know what they would do with themselves if they didn’t have to work, I marvel.  I would not have this problem.  I’m in a constant state of pursuing leisure.  I have like a hundred thousand ideas for things I’d like to do.

This week, I had several revelations in my ongoing quest.

Grown-up Board-Gaming

My husband got nearly as many board games for Christmas as our children.  I’m all for it, now that we’ve rediscovered the fun of playing games. Pandemic Legacy was one of the games on his list and it was by far the best adult game he got.

It’s similar to the cooperative game Forbidden Island (one of our all time family favorites).  I believe both are made by the same company.  We invited our friends over to play.

The children kept complaining we were making too much noise as they were trying to sleep.  But how could we be quiet when there was a severe outbreak in Jakarta… Chennai, India completely collapsed and Moscow was at panic level 2 (rioting).  I grant you, it’s kind of dark.  But it’s really, really fun.

The game is designed to be played once a month for twelve months. Irrevocable stickers are placed on the board. Cards are torn up.  Torn up!  We haven’t even yet gotten to open any of the advent-calendar-like secret dossiers.

Am I confusing you?

There is a bit of a learning curve.  My husband sat at the table doing his homework for an hour before game-time. But it was worth it.  The game is for four players. Any more and it would go on too long.  But I realized after playing that, since it is a cooperative game, where everyone is discussing what each player should do, you could easily have teams that include more than one person, and it would be just as fun for any number of additional players.

We, unfortunately, lost the game.  It didn’t help that I did not look at the secret power on my identity card until half way through (a bottle of wine).  But we are so going to contain these outbreaks next month.  Do not fear, citizens of Earth.

Scribd

Also in leisure news, I stumbled upon the subscription reading service Scribd, which turns out to be a treasure trove of sheet music.  I was searching for sheet music for the Amelie movie soundtrack and only here could I find what I wanted without buying the whole $36 book, which had more songs than I needed.  I signed up for the free trial, figuring I would cancel it after I downloaded all the music I wanted.  But I really love being able to find almost any sheet music I want at any moment.  (Though not everything.)

Scribd changed its user agreement this year from unlimited reading for $9.99 a month, to only 3 books per month, plus certain additional rotating titles.  I can’t imagine reading more than three books in a month, so this seems like a good deal.  Most kindle books are more than $10.  Reading more books is a priority for me since books are my cure for the internet.

But I was a instantly deflated when the first book I wanted to read – The Case Against Sugar – was only available on audio book.  So we’ll see.  But the sheet music seems to be unlimited, so I’m definitely going to give it a whirl. Playing the piano instead of reading the internet has been a huge win for leisure at my house.

Yet More Blinding Wisdom from Raptitude

All these pursuits of leisure bring me to Raptitude.  I promise not to talk about Raptitude every week, but once again, David’s words are so pertinent and so insightful, they reached out from inside my computer screen and slapped me in the face. Lovingly.  His latest essay captures the perpetual conundrum that many of us find ourselves in: we just don’t have enough time to do all the things we want to do.

And so he asks, is it possible that we do not have enough time for all our leisure fantasies because we are in a deluded state of thinking that we can be writers, gamers, musicians, iron men, book nerds, photographers, film buffs, yoga gurus, amateur astronomers and bilingual chefs, all at the same time?

Because unless you are born with the singularly focused mind of a prima ballerina or master mathematician or whatever, you may find that you have many interests, as various hobbies and leisure activities tantalizingly pass in front of you like hors d’oeuvres on a tray. Sure, I’ll take this, and yes, I’ll take that, and who wouldn’t want to learn all about birds or meditation or how to play the ukulele? Particularly when you live in a busy metropolis, there are tempting things to do just around the corner at all times. Kickboxing? Absolutely!  Learning Italian? Sign me up! Search Party?  Netflix it!

Yes, these are fulfilling, or at least fun, things. But here’s the catch – we cannot do all of them.  We have to choose.

The tyranny of choice.

Sometimes I could crumble at the mere prospect of making one more decision, however small.  Tomato or bacon on my egg sandwich? Chicken or lentil soup for dinner? Writing or working out this morning? Coding or cooking for my son after school? Blue walls or green?  Skiing or Florida? It can drive a person mad.  But if we do not choose, if we do a little of everything and say yes too often, our brains are destined to short-circuit into a tail-chasing spiral of self-defeat where we constantly bemoan that we do not have enough time.  And this doesn’t even take into account time wasted – a whole other topic.

But there is a short-cut to this considerable task of constant qualifying, prioritizing and choice-making, especially when it comes to stuff that is supposed to be leisurely and fun…

Choose neither.  I often choose nothing by default because I am paralyzed by too many choices.  But that is a choice.  And often, it is the best choice.  Here’s a safe bet: you’ll never be disappointed if you go for quality over quantity.  And if something is really going to give you pleasure, it will choose you.

 

via GIPHY

 

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  • My wife and I love Pandemic. Board games are something that we always ask for Christmas and we are definitely starting to build a collection. If you like card games you might really enjoy Exploding Kittens. It’s definitely a little quirky but super fun to play 🙂

  • Pandemic sounds fun. We can’t get past Risk. We are a world domination type family. 🙂 Quality over quantity, couldn’t agree more. We having been trying to do this with stuff around the house decluttering, and with activities as well. It’s that “no” word we forget sometimes.

  • I also saw that Raptitude post and commented on it. That post is almost exactly why I named my site “Primal Prosperity”! 🙂

    He had a link to the topic of the ‘true affluent society’, i.e. the hunter gatherers. Even in modern tribes (although very few), they only work about 15-20 hours per week and that includes getting movement and sunshine. Then the rest of the time, they are pondering, playing, tinkering, creating, etc….

    You might want to check out Barbara Sher and Thom Hartmann. They both talk about ‘scanners’. These are the people that have so many interests that they get overwhelmed in a modern society. Benjamin Franklin and DaVinci were scanners, but back then we called them inventors or Renaissance men. Today, these types are called ADD. Funny how that happened.

    You might enjoy this post also: https://primal-prosperity.com/2016/11/19/are-you-a-hunter-or-a-farmer/

    Anyway, for me, I have found a great balance between a full time, salaried, specialized job and complete early retirement. I work about 2-3 days per week and then the rest of the time, I can amuse my many, many curiosities, but I do it for myself. I like to recommend that people focus their time satisfying their “inner musts” rather than “societal shoulds”.

    Another great book you might want to read is “The Icarus Effect”, by Seth Godin. That book completely changed my attitude about this similar topic.

    • It’s funny, I was going to throw in a line about how you only get to be a “Renaissance Man” during the actual Renaissance – it doesn’t work quite the same today. But I am too wordy! You have the perfect situation. I work from home two days a week and I am thankful, but it is still not the same as being totally mentally untethered. Meanwhile I looked for The Icarus Effect (“The Icarus Deception”?) on Scribed and again, it is only available on Audio book! Annoying… But in any case, thank you for the excellent feedback.

  • We picked up Small World this Christmas, and had to watch 3 YouTube videos to figure it out (I’m still not sure we have entirely.) But we love King of Tokyo, and I have high hopes for the copy of Carcassonne we still haven’t opened.

    but yes, we have trouble doing it all. I’m working more, and keeping up with the blog, exercise, etc is getting tougher. I manage, but there are the other demands on my time too that cut into leisure.(“MOOOMMMM! I’m BORED!”) Definitely have to make a few more choices right now.

    • Oh yes, the “mom?… mom?… mom?… mom?” I know that well! It does tend to derail all those ambitious plans. I will tell you that Carcassonne is extremely fun. It is one of our new favorites. My little one actually loves just taking the pieces out and connecting them to make cities and roads. Open it up – it’s worth it!!

  • We also picked up Pandemic for Christmas, I think ours is the basic game, and we love it! The collaborative approach is unique to the other games in our collection.
    I also share that struggle of having seemingly unlimited interests, and constantly having to shift priorities, or pick and choose. I have cut some things out in recent years to become more focused, however.

    • Collaborative games are so fun. We really enjoy collaborative games with the kids but this was the first time I played one with just adults. It was so fun and saved us all from talking about politics! But I definitely struggle with this, wanting to do so many things, then throwing my hands up because I am too busy to master them all or give the necessary time to really cultivate any one hobby. I am really trying to edit down and just focus on the things that give me the most pleasure. Because, as I am trying to explain to my son as I teach him how to play the piano, the real fun doesn’t even start until you get several layers deep.

  • Some of our favorite games are 7 Wonders, Settlers of Catan, and Carcassonne. Pandemic sounds fun – can it be played with two players?

    Ahhh. Leisure. I tried it this past weekend and it was heavenly! I did more reading than I’ve done in a month and took a nap. I chose “nothing” and it was exactly what I needed. Love this post, Linda!

    • Catan and Carcassonne are two of our favorites. From what I understand you can play Pandemic Legacy with two players. Sounds like you had a relaxing lovely weekend Amanda – good for you! Thank you, as always, for the kind words… -Linda

  • There are so many board games out there these days! I need to get back into the swing of them! We have started a few games with our 2 girls, mainly Candyland, Jenga, and Crackers in my Bed. We are also toying with Twister for them, but that’s still a bit hard for a 4 and 2 year old!

  • Love this post!!! Adult board gaming is the best! Especially with wine! I absolutely agree that I am the worst at making decisions, no matter how small. But very true that deciding is a necessity. I would say yes to everything because I was afraid to say no to anything. And it definitely was paralyzing. But now saying no feels liberating, even as hard as it still is at times. And coming to the mindset of enjoying saying no and enjoying doing nothing sometimes is life changing! It’s nice to appreciate the time you DECIDE to do nothing, but it’s pointless if we spend the entire time feeling guilty for not doing something. Wonderfully written as always!!

    • Thank you Aleks! I always want to have nothing to do, then I get stressed that I’m not making the most of my time, then I get embroiled in ten different things, then I wish I had nothing to do! It is a crazy cycle.

  • Awesome post as always Linda! It makes me think of what I used to get caught into all the time at work – doing 10 things at a so-so level instead of 2-3 things really well. Once I got my focus tuned, I was able to make a much bigger impact and I was much happier at work.

    Now to just figure out how to do the same at home… 🙂

  • I love Pandemic but have not yet heard of Pandemic Legacy! It looks like so much fun.

    If you’re looking for sheet music you might want to call the reference desk at your public library. I know when I worked the ref desk we had several patrons who would call in requesting certain songs and most of the time we were able to find a copy to print up for them, either online, in a book we had or through databases we subscribed to.

    1. Jax 12:06pm 26 January - 2017 - Reply

      I love Pandemic but have not yet heard of Pandemic Legacy! It looks like so much fun.

      If you’re looking for sheet music you might want to call the reference desk at your public library. I know when I worked the ref desk we had several patrons who would call in requesting certain songs and most of the time we were able to find a copy to print up for them, either online, in a book we had or through databases we subscribed to.

      • Brooklyn Bread 03:14pm 26 January - 2017 - Reply

        Wow – what an incredibly excellent tip! Thank you! -Linda

    2. Chris @ Keep Thrifty 06:04pm 24 January - 2017 - Reply

      Awesome post as always Linda! It makes me think of what I used to get caught into all the time at work – doing 10 things at a so-so level instead of 2-3 things really well. Once I got my focus tuned, I was able to make a much bigger impact and I was much happier at work.

      Now to just figure out how to do the same at home… 🙂

    3. Aleks F. 08:59pm 23 January - 2017 - Reply

      Love this post!!! Adult board gaming is the best! Especially with wine! I absolutely agree that I am the worst at making decisions, no matter how small. But very true that deciding is a necessity. I would say yes to everything because I was afraid to say no to anything. And it definitely was paralyzing. But now saying no feels liberating, even as hard as it still is at times. And coming to the mindset of enjoying saying no and enjoying doing nothing sometimes is life changing! It’s nice to appreciate the time you DECIDE to do nothing, but it’s pointless if we spend the entire time feeling guilty for not doing something. Wonderfully written as always!!

      • Brooklyn Bread 03:50pm 24 January - 2017 - Reply

        Thank you Aleks! I always want to have nothing to do, then I get stressed that I’m not making the most of my time, then I get embroiled in ten different things, then I wish I had nothing to do! It is a crazy cycle.

    4. Liz@ChiefMomOfficer 07:05pm 23 January - 2017 - Reply

      We got the board game “Ticket to Ride” for Christmas – it’s been a big hit with the adults and the kids! They want to play it every weekend.

      • Brooklyn Bread 07:24pm 23 January - 2017 - Reply

        We absolutely LOVE Ticket to Ride. It is such a great game to play with the kids!

    5. Steven Goodwin 12:57pm 23 January - 2017 - Reply

      There are so many board games out there these days! I need to get back into the swing of them! We have started a few games with our 2 girls, mainly Candyland, Jenga, and Crackers in my Bed. We are also toying with Twister for them, but that’s still a bit hard for a 4 and 2 year old!

      • Brooklyn Bread 01:03pm 23 January - 2017 - Reply

        Oh my – Twister! I haven’t played in so long. My kids would love that… -Linda

    6. Amanda @ centsiblyrich 11:57am 23 January - 2017 - Reply

      Some of our favorite games are 7 Wonders, Settlers of Catan, and Carcassonne. Pandemic sounds fun – can it be played with two players?

      Ahhh. Leisure. I tried it this past weekend and it was heavenly! I did more reading than I’ve done in a month and took a nap. I chose “nothing” and it was exactly what I needed. Love this post, Linda!

      • Brooklyn Bread 01:05pm 23 January - 2017 - Reply

        Catan and Carcassonne are two of our favorites. From what I understand you can play Pandemic Legacy with two players. Sounds like you had a relaxing lovely weekend Amanda – good for you! Thank you, as always, for the kind words… -Linda

    7. Mystery Money Man 08:29pm 21 January - 2017 - Reply

      We also picked up Pandemic for Christmas, I think ours is the basic game, and we love it! The collaborative approach is unique to the other games in our collection.
      I also share that struggle of having seemingly unlimited interests, and constantly having to shift priorities, or pick and choose. I have cut some things out in recent years to become more focused, however.

      • Brooklyn Bread 09:13am 22 January - 2017 - Reply

        Collaborative games are so fun. We really enjoy collaborative games with the kids but this was the first time I played one with just adults. It was so fun and saved us all from talking about politics! But I definitely struggle with this, wanting to do so many things, then throwing my hands up because I am too busy to master them all or give the necessary time to really cultivate any one hobby. I am really trying to edit down and just focus on the things that give me the most pleasure. Because, as I am trying to explain to my son as I teach him how to play the piano, the real fun doesn’t even start until you get several layers deep.

    8. Emily @ JohnJaneDoe 01:03pm 21 January - 2017 - Reply

      We picked up Small World this Christmas, and had to watch 3 YouTube videos to figure it out (I’m still not sure we have entirely.) But we love King of Tokyo, and I have high hopes for the copy of Carcassonne we still haven’t opened.

      but yes, we have trouble doing it all. I’m working more, and keeping up with the blog, exercise, etc is getting tougher. I manage, but there are the other demands on my time too that cut into leisure.(“MOOOMMMM! I’m BORED!”) Definitely have to make a few more choices right now.

      • Brooklyn Bread 09:09am 22 January - 2017 - Reply

        Oh yes, the “mom?… mom?… mom?… mom?” I know that well! It does tend to derail all those ambitious plans. I will tell you that Carcassonne is extremely fun. It is one of our new favorites. My little one actually loves just taking the pieces out and connecting them to make cities and roads. Open it up – it’s worth it!!

    9. Smart Provisions 01:57pm 20 January - 2017 - Reply

      Oooh, Pandemic! It’s such a fun and great game to play!

      I play a lot of Settlers of Catan with my friends as it’s pretty fast-paced and interesting at times with a can of beer.

      • Brooklyn Bread 02:02pm 20 January - 2017 - Reply

        I love Catan! We play the kids version with my children – it is definitely a good one.

    10. Primal Prosperity 12:53pm 20 January - 2017 - Reply

      I also saw that Raptitude post and commented on it. That post is almost exactly why I named my site “Primal Prosperity”! 🙂

      He had a link to the topic of the ‘true affluent society’, i.e. the hunter gatherers. Even in modern tribes (although very few), they only work about 15-20 hours per week and that includes getting movement and sunshine. Then the rest of the time, they are pondering, playing, tinkering, creating, etc….

      You might want to check out Barbara Sher and Thom Hartmann. They both talk about ‘scanners’. These are the people that have so many interests that they get overwhelmed in a modern society. Benjamin Franklin and DaVinci were scanners, but back then we called them inventors or Renaissance men. Today, these types are called ADD. Funny how that happened.

      You might enjoy this post also: https://primal-prosperity.com/2016/11/19/are-you-a-hunter-or-a-farmer/

      Anyway, for me, I have found a great balance between a full time, salaried, specialized job and complete early retirement. I work about 2-3 days per week and then the rest of the time, I can amuse my many, many curiosities, but I do it for myself. I like to recommend that people focus their time satisfying their “inner musts” rather than “societal shoulds”.

      Another great book you might want to read is “The Icarus Effect”, by Seth Godin. That book completely changed my attitude about this similar topic.

      • Brooklyn Bread 02:01pm 20 January - 2017 - Reply

        It’s funny, I was going to throw in a line about how you only get to be a “Renaissance Man” during the actual Renaissance – it doesn’t work quite the same today. But I am too wordy! You have the perfect situation. I work from home two days a week and I am thankful, but it is still not the same as being totally mentally untethered. Meanwhile I looked for The Icarus Effect (“The Icarus Deception”?) on Scribed and again, it is only available on Audio book! Annoying… But in any case, thank you for the excellent feedback.

    11. Brian @ Debt Discipline 09:27am 20 January - 2017 - Reply

      Pandemic sounds fun. We can’t get past Risk. We are a world domination type family. 🙂 Quality over quantity, couldn’t agree more. We having been trying to do this with stuff around the house decluttering, and with activities as well. It’s that “no” word we forget sometimes.

      • Brooklyn Bread 11:20am 20 January - 2017 - Reply

        I just recently commented “quality over quantity” on someone’s awesome blog post – was it yours?? Lol. Yes, the importance of “no.” It cant be underestimated.

    12. Mustard Seed Money 08:51am 20 January - 2017 - Reply

      My wife and I love Pandemic. Board games are something that we always ask for Christmas and we are definitely starting to build a collection. If you like card games you might really enjoy Exploding Kittens. It’s definitely a little quirky but super fun to play 🙂

      • Brooklyn Bread 08:53am 20 January - 2017 - Reply

        OH my goodness – Exploding Kittens! That sounds possibly even darker than Pandemic! Hilarious, we’ll have to check it out. -Linda

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