by Eugene Y. Santos
People always say that change is the only constant thing in this world. It’s a life lesson that applies to many aspects, including the way humans spend their leisure time. Technological advancements, as we learned, are directly proportional to society’s definition of relaxation or fun.
To start things off, there have been traditional forms of entertainment, which includes dancing, singing, drawing (even before art became chic), and music, among others. As time passes, they continue to undergo certain changes, especially in terms of genre expansion and the mediums they are rendered upon. Drawing, to illustrate, can now be done not just on paper, but through gadgets as well.
It’s safe to surmise that the evolution of our ways of entertainment has something to do with some of our forefathers’ and future innovators’ natural affinity to discover (or even rediscover and improve pre-existing) trends in their respective lifetimes.
Stefan Poser’s research (in the website of European History Online) adds that in the 1920s, the boom of radios allowed technology-based expansion of domestic leisure, as radios let listeners know real-time events outside their homes. Watching movies in the cinema also became in vogue, though it eventually had a fair competition when TVs became available for the masses.
Another important highlight is transportation. The invention of airplanes, ships, and automobiles has allowed us to navigate the world more. It also helps that the global workforce expanded as the world became more interactive, leading to the boom of travel both for business and vacation.
As technology continued to grow along with spending power, the concept of leisure led to more individualized proclivities. The rise of consumerism let each person shop for what Poser calls as “leisure-time accessories” such as gadgets, books, or even sporting goods. Advertising and media have also exposed the public to new things that merit materialistic bragging rights—the latest clothes, the “It” spots to dine out, urban developments on the rise, and many more.
Perfection, not achieved
In the past few decades, it’s interesting to note how the internet has tied up all facets of entertainment and leisure into one big cyberspace. Through the net, you can send a quick email to your loved one, book a ticket going to Hong Kong, reserve some spots for a movie show, and even order food for delivery. The possibilities seem endless. After all, in our current period, various data can be searched on Google.
Supposedly, the continuous boom of technology should make our lives easier, especially since information is now more at our fingertips. Just consider smartphones with data plans, which allow their users to access the internet anytime, anywhere. Life should be perfect now, right?
Apparently, we don’t have a utopic lifestyle yet, as I found out when I asked some acquaintances and friends in Facebook on how technology has changed the way we spend our leisure time. It’s quite ironic that despite the conveniences that technology offers these days, some people still gave out bittersweet opinions regarding this matter.
“Indeed, simple pleasures are almost obsolete,” says Justin Collantes, a self-employed visual artist. “Does anyone still read real books [in paperback print] while having coffee and cigarettes?”
Generally speaking, the common feedback is this: Technology now has blurred the fine lines between work and leisure, intangible and tangible happiness, private matters and public information. Another is that communication has become easier though it has also become less personal, as we resorted to communicating with each other more online through social media and less through physical talk and eye-to-eye contact.
Glaiza Lee, a writer based in Seoul, South Korea, shares that technology didn’t totally make our lives easier. “Today’s generation work longer hours and take shorter vacations. And, if ever [people] would go on a vacation, they would take all their gadgets with them. In some way, these gadgets take the fun out of the vacation, because these remind people of the work piling up on their office desks,” she says.
Poser noted in his research that technology and leisure have become intertwined. However, there might be something as too much of a good thing here. While gadgets and telecoms have been tailored to constantly connect us with each other, there’s actually a growing need to disconnect, even for just a moment. After all, to cite, a work-related email isn’t exactly a comforting thing to get when you’re lounging somewhere away from the office on a weekend, as experts noted that being on-call all the time can actually stain the essence of leisure time.
So, maybe, here’s where self-regulation comes in. You can surf the net all you want, but make sure to set some boundaries. Let’s take this case on hand: You can snag a date online, but on your actual meet-up with your prospective partner, you may just earn his/her trust and confidence more if you keep your hands off your phone and devote yourself to getting to know him/her through actual banter. A nice dinner won’t hurt, too. Food shots for Instagram are definitely optional.