“Leisure without study is death—a tomb for the living person.”Seneca, Moral Letters, 82.4
A fun evening with friends. A couple of hours playing games. Reading a book purely for enjoyment rather than to learn something new. These are all things I consider “leisurely” and there is nothing wrong with doing those things on occasions if they bring about small pockets of joy.
However it would be foolish to believe that those things will lead to true happiness on their own. They are second-rate, quick-win rewards and they should not be made the centre of focus.
The truest forms of happiness come from constant and every day growth. Even during my leisure time, I must still be improving. Have I improved my relationships with those I care for? Have I improved my temper? Have I lessened the impact less savoury people have on my life and mental health? Have I learned a new skill or gained some insight I didn’t have before? If at the end of any day, the answer to questions similar to these is yes, then I am investing heavily in my overall happiness for the long run, and for much greater gain. That’s the big win in the long game.