Leisure is a circumstantial concept. Godbey (2003) discussed that leisure can differ between persons. When attempting to define leisure three components must be taken into account; time, attitude and activity.
The job, the family and the household, these are three examples of a variety of commitments an average person in today’s society will assume. When a person is free of these responsibilities are they indulging in leisure? Lynch & Veal (2006) and Godbey (2003) dabbled with the idea that leisure is the time left over after fulfilling economic, social and biological needs. The concept of spare time is a required factor in defining leisure however it raises contradictions. An example of this is the crossover I experienced between my occupation and social life. As an employed bartender I have been invited to social events by work colleagues for the sake of networking. Events like these blur the line between work and leisure time. Simply having the time to indulge in leisure does not suffice a definition; we must understand the further factors associated in leisure.
This brings me to the second component, Activity. Godbey (2003) quoted Dumazedier, (1960)
“…to rest, to amuse himself, to add to his knowledge or improve his skills disinterestedly or to increase his voluntary participation in the life of the community after discharging his professional, family, and social duties.”
Activity is the act of leisure, the “human activity or inactivity” (Lynch & Veal, 2006) whether it’s sports, art, tourism, socializing, hobbies, games or simply just relaxing.
These activities alone do not define leisure as the same activity could be conceived differently. Last summer I played lawn bowls my grandparents; I wasn't overly amused by the sport. I felt it to be more of a family obligation rather than a leisure activity. However it was obvious my grandparents considered this their leisure as it was their choice.
Enjoyment in an activity directs me to the final component, Attitude. Lynch & Veal (2006) and Godbey (2003) both discussed the relationship between leisure and freedom. Godbey (2003) stated that,
“In defining an experience as leisure is that individuals believe that they are free or that they are controlling events rather than being controlled by events.” Leisure is something we strive for in order to experience enjoyment and satisfaction.”
During my time at school I participated in athletics. There were times where training was enjoyable and fulfilling. Occasionally expectations, pressures and failure resulted in dissatisfaction and a feeling of contempt for the sport. In this case the difference in attitude determined what part of the sport was leisure and what was considered an obligation.
Like time and activity, attitude cannot alone define leisure as Lynch & Veal (2006) suggested; there are people who take enjoyment and satisfaction in their work. These crossovers have occurred throughout this essay and shown that leisure is multifaceted and circumstantial. By dissecting the three components; Time, activity and attitude I have gained a further understanding of the concept of leisure.