Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Five-Minute Fix: Free Time Fritters

Time you enjoyed wasting

is not wasted time.

-T. S. Eliot

From my five-minute diary, I learned that I did have spare time, but I was not using it well. I was frittering it away on activities that didn't inspire me or bring me joy. I was reading my husband's golf magazines, even though I don't play golf. I was spacing out in front of a football or soccer game on TV, even though I don't enjoy watching these sports, and I don't like TV. I was scanning the web aimlessly, without a focus. None of these things inspire me or bring me joy or recharge me. Even worse, I was eating dessert while running from task to task, barely stopping long enough to taste it and gulping down too much coffee. It became evident to me that I was doing this because I needed relief from the stress in my life, but I wasn't deliberately seeking the best way to care for myself. I wasn't thinking about how I spent my free minutes every day.

I began to notice that I was not alone. Sometimes, my friends spent their free time in similar ways. One friend confessed that when her stress is high, she goes to the store and buys chocolate bars which make her feel sick after she has eaten them. A second friend told me she shops at the Dollar Tree where she buys cheap makeup and costume jewelry, which she throws away. A third friend watches cooking shows and reads recipes, even though she hates to cook. When I asked her why, she laughed and said she didn't know.

True enjoyment is a worthy pursuit, because we come away from it fresh and ready to tackle challenges. It's not selfishness; it's smart management. But there's nothing smart about spending spare time doing things that aren't fun, inspiring, or renewing.

How do you spend your free time?


  1. iz difficukt to learn and use time exept if yu have it endlessly and that what i believe everyone


  2. Ugh--mindless surfing! Especially after the kids have gone to bed, which is my longest stretch of free time. I'll come downstairs in the morning to the PC and find open browser windows to the most ridiculous subjects...celebrity gossip or something else I could care less about...and think, "I wasted my night on this when I could have been reading a book/taking a bath/watching a movie?"

    I can also relate to the "drive-by dessert eating"--I keep a stash of chocolate that I run to when I feel stressed. I just ran out and have decided I'm not replacing it just yet. I would love to savor it with tea in the evening, but right now, I'm honestly using it more like a drug, and I want to break that habit.

    Strangely, neither of these things EVER make me feel good--but I keep doing them. Again, just habits.

    p.s. Thank you all again so much for your prayers for my son who had swine flu. He's doing great and never even needed his asthma meds--I'm keeping him home for the rest of the week just to make sure he doesn't relapse, but so far, so good. I have no doubt your prayers made a big difference in his recovery.

  3. Kathi -

    Praise the Lord! What an answer to prayer!

    Thanks for your honest sharing -- I am sure it will encourage some other moms.

  4. Oh, my! Have you been looking at me through the computer screen? I have been watching football (once upon a time I liked watching, but it seems like a time-waster these days and I cannot enjoy it). I have been aimlessly surfing the net. I have been reading children's stories. It's funny, I know I have free time from time to time, but a lot of the time I just put in extra effort into surfing for lessons (which leads to aimless net wandering), or watching tv, which is effortless and mindless. I would LOVE to start crocheting again, or maybe getting some projects around the house done. Would that still be free time? LOL

  5. Spending time on things we enjoy doing is rare. Usually its things we think we have to do. Today I enjoyed playing tag with my girls, which made me realize that I havent run like this in a long time. Kids keep us young, thats for sure. Great post. :)


I love to receive comments from my readers, since you are the ones I am writing for! Please feel free to leave one.