In a recent New York Times column written by Marci Alboher, The Leisure Economy: How Changing Demographics, Economics, and Generational Attitudes Will Reshape Our Lives and Our Industries, author Linda Nazareth predicts that in the near future, as more baby boomers retire, we're going to see "leisure envy."
In a nutshell, Nazareth said: "I see us moving to a society where more people have time. Right now, baby boomers and people a little younger are working flat out and driving their kids everywhere, and they are proud of it. If someone asks you how you are, you have to say, 'I'm really busy.' I argue that the boomers are the most competitive generation we've ever seen, and they have made it fashionable to be busy."
She believes that as they retire, baby boomers will drive a trend of a new type of leisure where it'll become fashionable not to be busy, to have the money and freedom to not have to work every moment. That's where "leisure envy" will come in, of course, since the baby boomers who aren't prepared for retirement will likely be working into their 70s, 80s and beyond.
In any case, I hope she's right about relaxation becoming hip, because if it becomes fashionable to work a little less, then maybe I'll wind up, oh, I don't know, reading The Leisure Economy instead of writing about the fact that I'm too busy to read it.
Geoff Williams is a business journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).
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