When I was still in my teens (I am still there mentally though), I had read a short story about a man of leisure; it was a great story of a Scotsman who simply lived a life of leisure, doing or not doing anything that he did or didn’t want to do. He wasn’t tied down by any other conditions of life; everything depended upon his wish. That to me had seemed a charming way of living; live the way you wish, do what you want and do not do what you do not want to – very simple. Over the years in search of true freedom I never realized that I too had become a sort of man of leisure. And just few days ago a distant friend (distant in distance) pointed out to me that I was a man of leisure; which, she promptly added, was the pipe dream of most men and women anyway.
Due to my faltering and blistering grasp of the language, I first checked the online Oxford Dictionary (don’t tell me you still own and consult a paper real dictionary) for the definition and it proclaimed – a person who does not need to earn a living. Which in effect means he or she can do whatever he pleases and hence whatever he does is his leisure activity and doesn’t have to bother if the activity gets any money or not. So if your activities are not bound by the need to earn money then whatever you are and do becomes leisure (or so I suppose). Consequently, which means, that everyone who has to earn a living is not a person of leisure.
After digesting this fact for the better part of a second I introspected for another ten and realized that it indeed applies to me; I really do not need to earn a living. Even if I do not stir a single hair of my body for the purpose of earning money, I would still be well kept, fed, groomed (in the most absurd manner) and maintained by resources that generated adequate income of its own. This condition can often lead to two outcomes; either one could become totally lazy and incompetent since now all you can do is to sit and eat and watch TV or sit and eat and sleep, or sit and eat and do nothing, or sit and eat and gossip, and whatever... or you can now do anything that you have ever dreamt of since now money is not a concern anymore and you can aspire for anything.
With me this has had a mixture of both, some days I am really lazy since I have no office to go, no one to answer to, no one to control or rebuke, nothing that I am forced to do or obliged to, no one around that I am supposed to talk or take out or smile at, no kids to drop or pick up, no woman to hug or cuddle or kiss, no one to ask me who I was or what was I thinking, so in such days I may simply lie in bed or stare at a wall or just stay quiet or go out and watch the passing clouds overhead and simply do absolutely nothing that could be humanly construed as constructive or of any benefit to mankind or the planet.
On most other days, being a man of leisure, without any constraints about money, I am enthused to follow my heart, even if it means sliding down into the most mortifying stinking sink hole in the world or freezing my ass off into frozen landscapes, I will follow my heart wherever it takes me. From the depths of the deepest oceans where light doesn’t penetrate to the loftiest of the summits where light never leaves; furthest corners of the world, where human are not designed to go or prevail, or few are allowed to visit; and these journeys of mine even happens subliminally allowing my mind to travel where my body may not be able to follow immediately (even this needs freeing your senses). So being a man of leisure has both its advantages and drawbacks, though I wouldn’t really change my status for all the drawbacks in the world of being so.
I keep turning down offers, many ludicrously lucrative ones as well, when they do not fancy my heart, whereas I often take up causes that instead of paying me anything I end up paying, yet they fulfil my heart’s fancy. Money has never been and will never be the criteria for what I do. If money follows what my heart fancies then of course it is welcome since then I can disburse that money to others who really need it; and thus being a conduit for resources (my answer to those who say why I would charge money for things I love anyway). It’s not about doing things for free, but it is about being free to do whatever you want to and that truly is being a man of leisure. If you offer things for free, many times your actions are not respected and regarded and even misconstrued as you having an ulterior motive since the world simply cannot understand how something of value can be attained freely.
Now coming to the vital question you all might be itching to ask: can one become a person of leisure? Of course you can; if I could so can anyone. You can do anything but as long as the reason for your doing it is not to earn money you are a man of leisure according to my dictionary. The freedom of action lies in disengaging your need for money that leads you to do something. So in a way, all of us, at sometime or the other do act like a man of leisure. But can you make that into your life’s underlying modus-operandi. I believe you can since the choice lies within you. Just follow your heart and do what you really love to do, without any thoughts about money, so even when you are doing something you are not doing it for money or to earn a living. But like I always say, when you do something you love, you will eventually become very good at it, and when you become very good at something (no matter how trivial or absurd), someone would be willing to pay you for that. And money will start coming in; even when you are not earning a livelihood.
Now the ultimate question; how on earth did I become a man of leisure that I don’t need to earn a living; how did I achieve it. Actually I have no definite idea though I can give some pointers. Basically my needs aren’t much so I don’t really need all that money. What I need (of course I need money for food, clothing, travel, medicine etc) is either paid for by someone kind and generous or is taken care of by sponsors or by some grants that I get for some of my past deeds (these grants are lifelong luckily and I don’t have to do anything to keep them going). You can of course argue that with my meagre source of money that is automatically generated without lifting even a finger is sufficient since I keep myself single away from any tangle while I just dangle from places that don’t need the money angle.
But then I cannot go out and buy a sports car or stay in the most luxurious hotels or travel in first class or wear Rolex or indulge in anything that money can procure. Here I have to agree with you, yes it is absolutely true that I cannot indulge in anything that money can or does buy in this world; yet I do at times travel first class, do have one of the most expensive Tag Heuer models (though I am giving it away next month), am often driven around in sports car around the world and do stay in some of the world’s top luxury hotels where I sleep on the floor since their beds are too soft or big for my comfort. And all these things happen to me without making any efforts at all.
Yet I must insist that though my best clothes are the ones I climb and hike with, my shoes are always in tatters, I barely own anything materialistic, I am still a man of leisure with high happiness quotient since I don’t need to earn a living and neither do I want any of the luxuries or opulence that money can buy. What will I do with them anyway, where will I keep a sports car and I can always sleep on the floor of a B&B or on a beach. I cannot buy a villa because I have absolutely no desire to buy one (even if I had the money) and that is pretty much the secret of being a man of leisure. Whether you are attached or free from your desire to earn a living depends to a large extent upon your desires for materialism.