Robert Stebbins, Professor Emeritus at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, takes a fascinating look at what we need to know about an optimal leisure lifestyle.
An optimal leisure lifestyle (OLL) consists of deeply satisfying participation during leisure time in one or more substantial and absorbing activities known as serious leisure. They are supplemented by sensible amounts of casual or project-based leisure, or both. People find an OLL by engaging in leisure activities that, individually and in combination, help them develop their human potential (their talents and tastes), leading to a better quality of life and well-being. However, the OLL is basically a conception of leisure, although it always has work and non-work obligations in the background as a comparative backdrop.
In addition, OLL is a contextual phenomenon, where a person’s various compulsory work, leisure and non-work activities are coordinated, among others, with the dimensions of time, money and available resources. Although it is individual people who experience this lifestyle, it is inevitably embedded in several larger contexts influenced by certain organizations, groups, networks, social arrangements and cultural patterns. Some of the latter may also have deep roots in history.
In addition, such structural and cultural phenomena may, depending on the circumstances, limit or facilitate the performance of these activities. A key issue for many people is finding an enjoyable lifestyle, no doubt a very personal goal. However, the search for this state implies, in the most general sense, finding the most acceptable balance possible between the activities that make up an OLL. Yet despite all this talk of large-scale context, the effort and perseverance required to find it stand out as critical microprocesses here. The idea of the OLL really cuts across all contextual levels.