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Time on my mind, on my hands

November 7th, 2006 at 08:29 pm

I have a fair amount of time available to me. Iím childfree. I donít have family that lives nearby. My commute is 10 minutes roundtrip driving, or 40 minutes walking roundtrip. I work a 40 hour week. Sometimes I have longer days or weeks, especially due to travel, but I also get a fair amount of holidays, personal days, vacation days. I keep the house simple and tidy, and while I keep it uncluttered Iím not a big cleaner. I have five bills to pay a month, and I like to shop no more than once a month. No dry cleaning, no manicuresÖnot a lot of errands. I have time.

Iím grateful for the time, because Iím not stressed out. Because I can putter around and drink tea and read. I like it because I donít need time saving gadgets, and because I donít ever need to spend money to buy time: I can do it the long way, cook whatever I want from scratch, wash the dishes in a wash tub, use actual dishes. I always have time for a bath or a book; Iím not deprived of me time. Iím not going out to lunch or coffee and spending money; Iím not spending much on fuel, I. Many people I know seem to complain about the lack of time; some of them sound perfectly happy, but to me they sound uncomfortably busy. (Some parents seem to spend an awful lot of time on child related things, fun or obligation. ).

I should be 100% grateful that my life is not crammed full. What can throw me off is that sometimes I do wish I had more structure, or obligations. Not necessarily chores, but I can be a mighty hermit, and it wouldnít be a bad idea for me to have a monthly book club, or museum trip, or hiking trip. I have all this beautiful time, and I donít always use it as well as Iíd like. Even in a perfect world Iíd still want plenty of ďnothing going on but my slippersĒ time; take away my baths and Iíd be much less mellow.

Boy, sometimes I really have to mull things over before I can articulate what it is I want, and even then itís still a process to work towards it. So now that Iíve put some of my antsiness in words, I know what a goal is: time management. Not the time management of people trying to do it all, or balance work, romance, kids, hobbies, housekeeping, and gardening. Iím just looking to feel more like Iím taking a bite out of life.

So whatís a concrete step I can take? Iím not good at telling myself broad things, like ďbe healthy.Ē I need concrete, like drink a lot of water and walk to work three times a week. The concrete step might not be the final answer, but it will take me there. Iíll further mull. Iím thinking along the lines of: host one game night this month, make social plans one day this month, and make a commitment to see a site once this month (could be a gallery or a hiking trail-but drive or walk to a place for fun).

This may not have been about finances. But I think of it this way: by being debt free and living simply, my biggest problem is needing to have more fun.

(And to be less chubby.)

6 Responses to “Time on my mind, on my hands”

  1. pjmama Says:

    hehe. I guess you can consider yourself lucky for not having all the stress of a busy lifestyle. I know there have been many instances that I wished for a lifestyle like yours, but at the same time it seems every bit of free time I have drives me to want to do more... hehe. I guess the antsiness runs with me too... enjoy yourself!

  2. tinapbeana Says:

    definitely an enviable problem to have! since i'm an outside type of gal, i'd set up a goal like visit a different park each weekend for a month. state park, city park, little oasis that gets hidden amongst stores, whatever. you can do the tea and book trick in a park: it's a good time of year for a thermos of hot tea.

    this may not be something that would work with your challenge, but 2007 is right around the corner: what about signing up for a class at your local Y? getting out of the house, meeting people, and getting some exercise all at once?

  3. Jane Says:

    I wish you'd choose to spend a little of your free time writing a book about the year of the minimum wage challenge. I know it's a book I'd like to read (even though I'm enjoying the blog, a book is a different kind of read). I think you'd have a lot to say about how the challenge was made possible, how it wasn't a time of deprivation, what you already believed going in that got reinforced, what new insights you've gained about yourself and money and the place we give it in our lives. Even if you can't envision publication right now, you could still write the book - even if you believe no one will read it but you. Reading about money management and personal budgeting systems is an interest of mine, I really do believe you have much to add to the general conversation.

  4. fern Says:

    LR, you sound so much like me (except that my commute is either 5 minutes of driving or 15 minutes of walking)!

    Being single, i feel fortunate that i have much more free time than many people i know, and, like you, i sometimes feel i'm not making the most productive use of it. I do cherish my free time and the freedom i feel to read a book, watch a video or just 'relax,' though i live in an old house with a lot of land so that does consume a lot of energy to maintain.

    I tend to be a homebody and really need to push myself to get out and socialize more. I think the book club is an excellent idea; i am reading now for our book club's meeting next week. It's nice, becus if you don't much feel like talking, you can just listen in on the discussion and still feel involved, or you can participate as much as you want.

    Getting out for a daily walk is also a great way to energize oneself.

  5. paigu Says:

    Wow, what I wouldn't give to be able to say I have no stress in my life....
    I can agree with you 300% about being a "mighty hermit." I crave my "alone time." I've gone entire days when I literally do not speak to anybody. Not sure why this is, either, because I like meeting new people and interacting with friends. I sort of feel I need incentive or at least someone to push me out the door first, to get me to do social things. Anyway, regarding your time issues; I think you're on the right path. A book club is a fabulous idea that I've been trying to get myself to coordinate as well. Exercise is also highly recommended, and it looks like you enjoy walking, so I encourage you to continue! Maybe form a walking club? Since you work, then your coworkers could be your best pool of recruits. I know if I lived closer to you, I'd definitely be in!

  6. jodi Says:

    Thanks for this post - it has reminded me of a few things that I had been mulling over. I want to coordinate a "ladies night" cookie exchange for Christmas. I want to plan an evening out with my best friend from high school in lieu of exchanging Christmas gifts (a strategy we decided on last year). And I want to see how many people I can get interested in starting a Bunko league! Off to my e-mail - I've got some FUN to set up Smile

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