Work, Peasants!

Isn’t this a convenient finding?

Everything, it is said, is good in moderation, and a new study has found that the adage is seemingly true for how much “me” time we give ourselves.

Analysis of lifestyle patterns of more than 21,000 Americans found that having more free time is linked to increased feelings of wellbeing – but only up to a point. In fact, when a person exceeds more than five hours of free time a day, their state of mind declines.

Dr Marissa Sharif, the study’s lead author, of the University of Pennsylvania, said: “People often complain about being too busy and express wanting more time. But is more time actually linked to greater happiness?

“We found that having a dearth of discretionary hours in one’s day results in greater stress and lower subjective wellbeing.

“However, while too little time is bad, having more time is not always better.”

You should be – for your mental health! – working for The Man. And that retirement idea? Right out of it.

The Greens have a plan for this of course. You’ll recycle and dig veggies for the sake of your mental health of course.

17 thoughts on “Work, Peasants!”

  1. Each to their own. Am sure we all have friends who fall apart when forced to retire. Others are desperate to get out. I hated school and couldn’t wait to leave and begin earning. Left at 15 only to discover there are worse things than school days. Took me till I was 50 before I could swing it.

  2. Surely true. Plenty people have pretty spectacular decline after retirement, and the old folk who keep their marbles tend to be the ones who are doing something that others depend on. At the other end, I’ve seen many younger folk slip into depression after they leave school/uni and just drift, doing nothing.
    We need a purpose, a reason to get up in the morning.* Some people are driven and can provide that for themselves, but most of us can’t.

    *The purpose doesn’t have to be moral, or good. Just something to fill the void.

  3. “But is more time actually linked to greater happiness?”


    I retired May 2020 and have been as happy as Larry ever since. Of course I still have plenty to do, I’m an active sort of person, but if I feel like spending a day doing F all I can. I have never understood the kind of person who has to go to work in order to find something to do.

  4. I retired 13 years ago. It was a bit strange at first, but I have always found something to do even if it’s not very productive in an absolute sense. IMHO a really good thing to do is get stuck into the bucket list, assuming you have the wherewithal to do so, as the wherewithal and the physical capacity to do it won’t last. That it is a list of stuff you wanted to do gives extra commitment to get moving.

  5. A few days ago there was baking heat and not enough wind to power the windmills. Not enough wind to get a draught through the house. I’d just driven home through an hour of near-stationary traffic with the car screaming that there wasn’t enough airflow to keep cool. I lay knocked out on the settee drenched in sweat unable to get cool.

    Welcome to your free sample session of post-green-shutdown economy.

  6. BiS: it obviously well pre-dates the film. I should think the concept of making a list, physical or mental, of things you would like to do before you lose the capacity, has been around for centuries but obviously not for the plebs until recent times. You could call it career planning (OK) or life planning (pretentious).

    As for the expression ‘kicking the bucket’, according to wiki that goes back a long way.

  7. Bucket list = a list of things that you want to do before you kick the bucket. This has always seemed really obvious to me. I can’t really remember when I first heard the term though.

  8. I didn’t realise there was a film.
    The whole concept sounds incredibly sad. Symptom of an empty life. What one wants to do in the future should be constantly modified by current experiences. Having a fixed list implies not having experiences to modify one’s outlook. There’s all sorts of things I’ve wanted to do in the past. Some of them I’ve done. Most of them I haven’t wanted to do when it was possible because I’d found other things I wanted to do. There’s somewhere I’ve been toying with going, for a while. But the nature of it would provide the opportunity to get into anything from the deepest of shit to not surviving the experience. So the decision point on that one could be the way to the airport with ticket.

  9. I think that it is a really good concept, although I agree with BIS in that your ideas about stuff that you would really love to do changes with time so your list needs to be flexible. So don’t see it as a failure if you cool on a particular idea and have to cross it off. My current project is to get myself swim fit and try to swim 500 miles in 2022 to raise money for guide dogs. I play the keyboards but, due to my limited ability, it takes me a very long time to learn any particular piece of music. A possible future project would be to learn to play J. S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor BVW565 and play it on a real pipe organ.

  10. The expedition I’m unsure about is to the poorest barrio in a poor town in Colombia’s coca country. But that’s logical product of a couple of small business projects I initiated there. Those being related to people I’m involved with here. This part of my life starts in the mid 2000s when I decided I’d had enough of the UK. Spent a couple of years helping people with their house renovation projects down the western side of France. Unpaid but it took me to a lot of interesting places & people & cost virtually nothing. Spain started as a warmer country to winter over in. The most southern part of Europe has to be the warmest. Can’t say any of it I envisaged when I bumped off a Dover to Dunkerque ferry. I can’t say I’ve ever had a “bucket list” to have an item on. I’ve never had that sort of life. The things I achieve I have no alternative not to achieve.
    If the Colombia jaunt is survivable there’s a side trip to a favela on the outskirts of Brasil’s most violent city pencilled in, for much the same reasons. I’ve absolutely no intention of finishing my days in a pool of piss in a nursing home bed. Nearly achieved it in Algeria a few years ago.

  11. Well BIS, it sort of looks to me that you do have a bucket list but just never formalised it or made it official. Presumably for you it means having plenty of stuff to do that you haven’t done yet.

    Thinking about the OP, I think that they are actually right, but only about a subset of people. It has already been mentioned that some people react badly to retirement. For the rest of us it is great to have our time to ourselves. Now it’s a fine day so I’m off on a bike ride.

  12. ‘discretionary hours’, ‘free-time’, ‘not working’ — are different things. I am, mostly, retired, such work as I do self-employed are discretionary hours. As are a lot of things I do voluntarily because they are a satisfactory mix of having fun, having friends, and doing good. Having too little to do is certainly depressing, witness the effect of lockdown, but generally finding things to do if you want to is not difficult.

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