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Old 03-11-2017, 04:39 PM
 
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I hear lots of people talking about the need to "be active", get out of the house and "do things". Unfortunately, I tend to take things literally and am often disappointed when I realize that others are not really talking about activities but are more interested in watching others do things. I happy to go to concerts and plays and even some spectator sports or an occasional flea market, but I think it is more important to actually do things. I am trying to spend way more time in what I "do" instead of what I "watch". Doing things allows us to learn, create, grow and accomplish. Passively watching can be enjoyable but involves none of those.
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Old 03-11-2017, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
I hear lots of people talking about the need to "be active", get out of the house and "do things". Unfortunately, I tend to take things literally and am often disappointed when I realize that others are not really talking about activities but are more interested in watching others do things. I happy to go to concerts and plays and even some spectator sports or an occasional flea market, but I think it is more important to actually do things. I am trying to spend way more time in what I "do" instead of what I "watch". Doing things allows us to learn, create, grow and accomplish. Passively watching can be enjoyable but involves none of those.
Interesting philosophical thought there, jrkliny. I wonder how you would classify going to museums? In a way, that is watching, or perhaps "looking" might be better. I can enjoy art museums, but even better I am interested in history museums. I think we are doing a little more than just "looking" in a passive sense. Take for example the presidential library/museums dedicated to each former president. By reading documents and explanations, by viewing the memorabilia, and by listening to film clips of interviews and speeches, we are re-living that slice of history; we are remembering things about it and probably learning new things as well. I was especially fascinated by the Truman museum in Independence, Missouri, and by the Eisenhower museum in Abilene, Kansas. For me, those visits were active, not passive. My intellect was certainly actively engaged, and even my emotions were too. Those two visits remain memorable for me five or six years later.

Another personal example is the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. I have read extensively about World War II, but there is a new demension to be added when I hear veterans talk about their own experiences in their own words and I hear those words in the recordings. Likewise President Roosevelt's declaration of war speech to Congress; there is a difference between reading the text, and hearing and seeing him in the film clip, hearing his inflections in the delivery, and so forth. It was a wonderful experience, one in which I felt like I was actively participating because I was so fully engaged in it.

Perhaps what you are talking about is on a continuum?
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Old 03-11-2017, 06:14 PM
 
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I think many museums are set up as learning experiencesome but the process is very passive. I visit art museums but I also spend countless hours doing my own artwork. I find that more interesting and creative. Since I am an artist I view art differently. I see many people in museums who seem to just wander through. I wonder what they get out of the experience.
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Old 03-11-2017, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
I think many museums are set up as learning experiencesome but the process is very passive. I visit art museums but I also spend countless hours doing my own artwork. I find that more interesting and creative. Since I am an artist I view art differently. I see many people in museums who seem to just wander through. I wonder what they get out of the experience.
I am not an artist and I am not really into art either, so perhaps I can answer what the unwashed such as myself get out of the experience of "wondering through" art museums. What I get is a chance to admire and enjoy great beauty and impressive mastery. I may very quickly pass by works of art that don't "grab" me, and there are quite a few of those. Thus if you saw me quickly passing by a number of works in a row, you would most definitely wonder what I was getting out of it. But then I can linger quite some time trying to absorb the wonder of a work which does "grab" me.

That's why I try to avoid musuems of modern art completely. I don't get modern art. When my sister was visiting Los Angeles and wanted to go the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown, I said I would be happy to take her. I brought something to read so she could take her time; I saw the entire museum in about 10 minutes and sat down to read while she actually looked at it. I'm not sorry I was there and saw what they had on display, but I can't say I benefitted.
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:52 PM
 
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This is an interesting observation. I think we all instinctively want to think we live an active lifestyle (although sometimes in reality it doesn't happen and we may actually prefer more passive pursuits). But it's definitely a continuum and there's different types of activity. Physical activity is of course the default definition, but there are other types of activity as well: intellectual, spiritual, social, etc.

All of us who exercise (I go to the gym typically daily for two 60-minute classes and then do some walking) would claim that we live an active lifestyle---but research has shown that this level of exercise does not counteract sitting for the rest of the day! So it looks like 60 to 120 minutes of even vigorous exercise is not enough for the body and that even a gym rat's body is experiencing nonactivity/sedentary activities.

Another major criteria of most people's perception of activity is getting out of the house and/or being social. But this can be misleading as well. Someone who went out tonight, eating dinner out and then going to a movie or concert, may be perceived as living a more active lifestyle than I did tonight. I stayed home. But I cooked dinner (I'm always trying new recipes that are more complicated than most people want to deal with). I watched a British television show that I spent some time finding and researching, followed by a TED talk. So---not really any less active than watching a concert or movie and in some ways more active, since I had to do research to find these and learned something new instead of being passively entertained. I played online and learned some new stuff (about Stoicism and amor fati). Now I'll be doing some reading before bed---again, a passive activity on the surface, but reading a good book is actively much more active mentally than just swiping at and glancing at a screen.

As for being social, most people spend more time in social activities than I do. But when I am with other people, I'm more present than most, so in some ways this is more active for the shorter, less frequent time periods I do engage in it than just being with people frequently/for extended periods while being distracted by a phone or one's own thoughts.

Most people think traveling/sightseeing is quite active. To me just looking at sights/scenery/historic stuff and taking photographs isn't all that active. I'd rather really learn about places, customs, people etc. on a deeper level than just seeing something to say that I've seen it. I posted a while ago about friends who toured the Netherlands and went to a tulip farm. After admiring their photos on their phone (not remarkable, really---if you've seen one tulip, you've seen them all, and Dutch tulips don't look any different than those here in Georgia), I wanted to discuss tulip mania that took place centuries ago since it is now almost comical to think that floral bulbs would be such a hot commodity. They had no idea what I was talking about and I could tell that they wouldn't be motivated to do any research later (but a movie is being made about it, so they will probably see that and learn about it that way).

To each their own. I agree with OP that there is a lot of passivity (what else can it be called when someone stares at a small electronic screen, barely noticing let alone really digesting what they are seeing?) and not just in older folks. But there is also a lot of people who function as a "human doing" rather than a human being. Sometimes when I am ostensibly not doing anything/looking passive/just sitting there, I may actually be meditating...which is incredibly hard work! To just be able to sit with yourself and focus on your breathing is more active than it may sound and leads to some profound results/changes.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Central IL
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Active is in the eye of the beholder and there's no reason to judge others by your own yardstick. Are we back in grade school? If you enjoy what you're doing with your life, what does it matter if you're not active enough or cool enough or artistic enough? Who exactly are you trying to convince? I mean, maybe my photography hasn't gotten a showing...but I've actually gotten paid for numerous photos! Now, doesn't that make me a professional artist?! Yeah....that's what I said!
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Planet Woof
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I agree with the above poster. I think the key thing about retirement is that one finally DO and BE who/how they want and to heck with what others think. No expectations, just freedom and inner peace, however one finds and defines it.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:16 PM
 
Location: SoCal
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You live longer if you are active. I'm trying to limit the time we sit down and surf the net.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:25 PM
 
Location: At the Lake (in Texas)
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Originally Posted by FeelinLow View Post
I agree with the above poster. I think the key thing about retirement is that one finally DO and BE who/how they want and to heck with what others think. No expectations, just freedom and inner peace, however one finds and defines it.
I definitely agree! This is our time and we can live it as we like, make it up day by day if we so choose, and shouldn't have to be judged by others, especially our peers!
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by reneeh63 View Post
Active is in the eye of the beholder and there's no reason to judge others by your own yardstick. Are we back in grade school? ...........

Actually I don't really care much what you do with your life. For all I care you can spend it playing cards, or even watching others play cards. Certainly there are a great many people whose major interest is watching pro athletes play sports. My point is much simpler. I think we should see the difference between doing something and watching someone else do something. For myself I try to pick pursuits that are more active than passive and that involving doing rather than watching. You may prefer less active endeavors.
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