A few months ago I went through the work to identifying exactly how much time I have. After rough estimates it came out to about 43.5 hours a week of “free time” not taken up by responsibilities of adulthood. Since then I’ve been trying to find ways to fill that 43.5 hours with things that mean something to me; I have found some things that have become important to me and some things that don’t matter the way I thought they would have.
Reading – As part of my 19 for 2019 I decided I wanted to read 19 books. Before the summer even began I had surpassed my goal. I found that reading was more important to me than TV in the evening. I have reached a point in my life where I can’t watch a lot of TV shows anymore; I don’t derive a lot of intellectual pleasure from TV shows the way I used to and I don’t want to just watch TV to watch TV. There are some shows that I like and do make time to watch but not nearly the volume in the way I used to. Considering I was the kid who’d rather watch TV than read a book and I’m completely shocked by this new development in my personality. Reading also makes me feel like I’m not “wasting” my toddler free post-bedtime routine alone time. When the Munchkin goes to bed I don’t necessarily have the mental fortitude to tackle a hobby (which I’m not even sure what they are right now) but not quite ready to zone out.
Stable Hand – A friend of mine owns a horse stable, Majoda Stables. They do therapeutic riding programs and run a nonprofit so I started volunteering with them. I used to ride when I was in middle school and have missed it. Working at the barn has been physically demanding and I’m not cut out to do it as a full time job but doing a couple hours a week has been absolutely wonderful. I’ve shoveled horse shit, I’ve raked hay and driven a tractor. It’s been hot, dirty, smelly, and messy work but some weeks it’s been the best couple hours I’ve had. I hope I’ve made a difference with the little I’m able to accomplish when I’m there but it has made a world of difference to me.
Working out – For financial reasons I have quit the gym membership but now routinely work out in the gym at school for 20-30 minutes a couple days before leaving and that has been the best step in my consistency mantra for 2019. I set up an interval timer and do whatever comes to mind. It may not be the “best” workout but it’s better than no workout.
Ukulele – I took the summer class and I still enjoy strumming on it, but with the start of the new school year I have gotten out of regular practice. Without regular practice I am slipping back into the uncomfortable novice and I’m not sure what that means.
As I’ve investigated or attempted other hobbies, such as the uke, they haven’t stuck and become habits. I can’t tell if that’s just because I’m not that into it or I’m just still trying to find my way with the project at hand.
I am still a work in progress. I am still trying to carve out time and decide on things that truly bring me joy. Sometime between my twenties and now I’ve lost a piece of myself; I’ve lost the part that smiles and laughs and generally enjoys life. I still have a lot of great things in my life but I feel like I’m getting swallowed up by being responsible that I’ve forgot what “fun” is; I can’t believe how hard it is for me to find joy in my life. And I live a relatively stable life with a certain amount of privilige that comes from two full time, well paid, working adults. I can only imagine what parents that don’t live my relatively comfortable life must be feeling, but that is something to ponder for a later date.
Being an adult doesn’t mean we get to just play and goof off all day doing the things we love but too often I’m so wrapped up in the trappings of adulthood that I forget that I need to “play” too. Of course play looks different now as an adult but it’s still an important part of being a happy person that I’m trying to figure out..