It’s not what you think. I’ll leave that to more knowledgeable folks than I. It’s about being a generalist, or in the words of one self-help author, a “Renaissance Soul.” It means that while many people keep their sporting equipment in a small closet, I have an entire room dedicated to storage of such gear.

I am a generalist and proud of it. I have a wide variety of recreational pursuits that I enjoy doing that give me pleasure.

This doesn’t mean I don’t envy the sleek efficiency of the specialist, those recreation buffs that do just one thing, and do it well. The runners, for example, whose gear fits in a small duffel and who can participate in their gig wherever there is gravity, invoke some jealousy in me. They don’t need three different paddles, one for canoeing, one for sea kayaking, and one for whitewater. They don’t need a different helmet for hockey, climbing, and motorcycling. Heck, they don’t even need a ball, racquet, or stick.  What they do need, however, is time. As do I. As do you.

Recreation means to create anew

What we all need is time to participate in the activities that grant us access to our deeper selves, that refresh and replenish us, and that give us hope, delight, and happiness. As a recreation and leisure researcher, I spend my academic life trying to understand the significance of what happens when we are not at work.

The word recreation comes from the Latin, “recreare” meaning to create again and I think we need more re-creation. We also need more of the “F” word in our lives – Fun –I’m talking fun here.

Overwork and its consequent underplay damages our health because we have less opportunity to exercise, relax and rejuvenate.

It turns out that that fun time is getting harder and harder to find. Despite all the promise of technology as “labour saving,” the truth is that most of us are working longer and harder than ever before. “Crackberries” have facilitated the infiltration of work into almost every facet of our lives and many of us are never truly off.

Some of us aren’t even taking all the of the vacation time allotted to us. People living in Newfoundland and Labrador work two more hours per week than the national average.

Overwork damages our health

A recent study showed that regularly working overtime puts employees at a 60 per cent higher risk for heart disease. Overwork and its consequent underplay damages our health because we have less opportunity to exercise, relax and rejuvenate. We’ve become all work and little play and it’s not making us healthy, wealthy or wise.

In truth, it matters not whether we are generalists or specialists. What matters is that we get serious about our leisure and make the commitment to carve out the time to re-create ourselves. Such commitment not only brings more fun into our lives but it is crucial to our health and wellbeing.

It’s Saturday. What are you doing for fun today?