[FOUNTAIN]The true life of leisureA leisure expert diagnosed that a considerable number of Korean workers suffer from a kind of autism. He reckoned the so-called “boilermaker,” a unique drink that mixes hard liquor with beer, is the most notable example. Constantly making the boilermakers and offering them to drinking friends means people have no spiritual exchange. He argues that many Koreans have no idea how to enjoy leisure and must depend on alcohol. A perception that pursuing leisure activities in search of another self is a luxury prevails. And the authoritativeness and sternness of Korean men also prevent them from enjoying leisure hours. He said Koreans have a kind of psychological oppressive disorder which says that one can only avoid misfortune by working as hard as an ant.
Let’s look at the example of a forty-something business executive, Mr. A.
For some time, he has perceived his life as mechanical. The visions and hopes he had when he joined the company have been lost in vague memories. He thinks the endlessly repeated tasks at his work are gradually consuming his body and soul. His only pleasure and means of relaxation is making and drinking a few boilermakers after work. Psychologists say hard work should be followed by appropriate rest, but that seems like only a luxury. Discovering creativity through rest is something done in another world. Mr. A’s life is probably typical of the average white collar worker in Korea.
Lately, people are increasingly realizing the importance of leisure, not only to make one’s life richer but also to make communications with others smoother. With the goal, “Search for a theme of your life you can be absorbed in,” various options to make the best of the leisure hours have been offered.
So how can we make our spare time more fun and worthwhile? Some say, “Life is a play, and think of your job as a play with a certain set of rules,” or “Spend some time alone and look back at your life.” However, it is not always easy to find the answer. A more helpful suggestion came from a life consultant, who said, “A true life of leisure is doing whatever you like to do.”
Just in time, we have two consecutive three-day weekends coming. In nine days from April 29 to May 7, Koreans have three days off, work for three days and then have another long weekend. Many working Koreans have various plans to spend the leisure time. However, there are also a lot of Koreans who have to work even during the golden holidays. How about dreaming of a small rebellion of turning off your cell phone and going away without a plan?
by Park Jai-hyun
The writer is a deputy city news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.