It’s amazing to me how much time people waste, myself included. I stayed off Facebook last night and cleaned the kitchen, washed clothes, and took down our Christmas tree, and I was amazed at how much I got done in a relatively short amount of time. In my defense about the tree, I left it up for ambience so Jamie and I could celebrate Christmas together when he got home last week. It was nice to have everything still Christmasy when he tore into packages. :o) Anyway, I used to spend lots of time sitting at the computer, mostly waiting on Jamie to get on at night so I could chat with him. I guess I could have been doing other things, but I was always afraid I’d miss him getting on. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time on there at all since he’s been home.
I have definitely been realizing just how much time I can waste, even more so now that I’ve worked three jobs at once. Since my night class didn’t make and I’m not traveling almost an hour one way twice a week, I now have a nice chunk of “free time,” probably about 7 extra hours each week, time that I had before I started working at EMCC but really didn’t realize I had. I just wasted it at night, I guess. A big help has been cutting out most television, though. Years ago when I had an 8-5 office job, I’d come home, plant my butt on the couch, and watch probably 3-4 hours of t.v. every night! I just can’t imagine that these days. Of course, that was before I caught the running bug. Another time-sucker was playing computer games, which I rarely do anymore, primarily because I know how addicted I can get to them. I was into the hard-core RPG’s that immerse you in the environment and storyline and could suck away 5 hours, and it would seem like only 30 minutes had gone by! So after staying up late cleaning and putting stuff away, I STILL got on FB for a little social networking fix last night! I know, terrible.
Is there anything wrong with devoting your time to something “useless” like excessive t.v. watching, Internet surfing, or video game playing? Who determines what is useless and what isn’t? It seems to me that stamp collecting is an utterly useless hobby, but to a stamp collector, it is a perfectly valid use of time. It really all comes down to how you view your own time and the activities you do to fill up that time. If gardening is important to you, you devote your time to it. If slaying dragons and giants is your choice of entertainment, then you do that when you have free time. If playing a sport is what you like to do, then you don’t see it as a waste of your time. I guess what becomes an issue is how your activities affect the necessary parts of your life, like spending time with family, cleaning and taking care of the household, getting enough sleep for work, etc. For me, whatever I do that is taking up my free time, I feel like it should have value I can see (artwork, healthier body from working out, writing that I might be able to sale eventually, learning something new, etc.). I guess I am practical that way. I do surf the internet for entertainment and watch movies sometimes. I guess someone who sits in front of a t.v. for hours each night could argue that it’s their “unwinding time” or their choice for entertainment, and I can see that. Most people believe that blogging is a waste of time, but I love expressing myself in that way of I have a little time to write. Sometimes we need to cut each other slack about our choices of activities.
I suppose one of my pet peeves is that people often say, “I don’t have time for that,” when in reality, what they mean is that they don’t MAKE time for it, whatever “it” is. For instance, if you want to learn how to play an instrument, you’ll swap an hour or two each week from television to lessons and practice. Even working three jobs plus doing arts and crafts to consign at a local shop, I still cleaned the house each week and worked out regularly, because those things were important to me. Had violin been more important than working out and improving my health, I would have taken up lessons again in place of exercise.
What got me to thinking about all of this is what I want to do with my free time now that the English Composition class didn’t make. I of course want to spend more time with Jamie, and we have been really enjoying the extra time. When he goes back to work on the night shift, I know I probably won’t see him as much in the evenings, particularly when earlier when he’ll be sleeping. I hope to get my exercise equipment set up in the workshop soon so I can workout without waking him up too early. I’d also like to set aside a little bit of the 7 hours regained each week to get back into writing. The difficult part about that is devoting that time to just that and then sticking to it. I might also pick back up on my violin lessons, particularly if I can find a teacher closer to home. I definitely like to keep myself busy. :o) I feel like I’ve wasted too many years being lazy or doing “hobbies” that seem pointless to me now. Our lives pass us by so quickly, and we waste so much time on things that aren’t important. I want to focus on doing activities that I can find value in, things that I can look back on in 10 or 20 years and say, “I’m really glad I did that,” rather than, “What did I do with all that time I had?”