Friday, February 5, 2010


Recreation is an interesting word, isn't it? If something is enjoyable but it's part of your job, you may feel that it re-creates you, in a sense - but that's not considered recreation.

One day when I was talking with someone at work and I asked him when and how he did research, because his other responsibilities at work must take up most of his time, he referred to research as his hobby - that's his re-creation.

Another person I spoke with at work mentioned that she was anticipating a relaxing weekend of getting things organized in her house. To me, that would be an aversive task. For her, it's re-creation.

In general usage, recreation seems to mean things like:

playing with your kid
reading a novel
doing something physical like yoga or rock climbing

What makes something recreation? The fact that something is fun? The fact that you do it in your non-work time, i.e. not as your job? The fact that it involves effort, but the effort is pleasurable for you?

What about sleeping in? Could that be re-creation?

At what point does an enjoyable but challenging activity that you do without remuneration (writing sonnets... playing the guitar...) become 'work'? Can work be recreation?

What do you do to re-create yourself?


Anonymous said...

To me you re-create yourself by doing things you love - things that define you at your most basic level. So that when you work all week you almost lose your essential self by doing something not well suited to you, not good for you, not engaging for you. Only by being able to re-create in your spare time do you manage not to lose yourself altogether. Scary. Great topic.

Jen G said...

I agree, XUP - doing things you love has to be part of the meaning of recreation for me as well.

I wonder about a couple of things...

What you do for work could be something you love - so for some people, work itself could also be re-creation;

Also, I am curious about whether joyful effort should be considered necessary for something to be re-creation, or whether non-effortful activities could also be included in that category.

Anonymous said...

What would be considered a non-effortful activity? Looking out the window at a beautiful sunset? That still requires appreciation, time, concentration, feeling...or maybe you had something else in mind? People who are able to do something they love AND get paid for it AND can continue to love it are extremely fortunate. But I still think they need a break from it sometimes and do something else they love to refresh themselves

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

For me it's writing, reading a good book, and watching my children just be.