Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How you spend your downtime

As I get older I get increasingly curious about how the rest of the world spends their down time. I realize there are those of you rolling your eyes in this moment, asking "what down time?" Although, I am speaking in such general terms that yes, if you really don't have any down time then I also would include  those little moments where you decide to clean, shower, watch your nightly show, or prepare for the next day. The list goes on. All of those things require a decision. How you spend your time. While there may be certain consequences for things you do or do not do, for example, not showering (you might stink), that is still time spent and a choice to be made. (By all means, please do not interpret this as me telling you not to shower. In fact I highly encourage good hygiene practices).

Over the last few months, in particular, I have gotten into such a structured routine of revolving my life around studying or working that I have forgotten about what downtime really means. Since passing my boards this weekend several people have asked me what I will do with this new/free time. I also will admit I wondered about what I will do, too. My first thought was sleep. Oh glorious sleep. One of my favorite hobbies. This would be the time to soak it up. Before any kids. But then I kind of felt that, "maybe I should use this time to get things done." After all, so many projects, to-do lists, and my sanity were put on the back burner for quite some time. Obviously we are talking about a handful of days since I've last had the pressure, guilt, and the "I need to be studying" mentality, but I can honestly say every ounce of me has enjoyed the new time as I will call it. Yesterday morning I woke up and did the dishes. And it felt amazing! I know, who is this person? I hope this feeling lasts.

But deciding on how I will spend my time now that the black cloud has dissipated has only got me thinking more these past few days about other people. What do other people do with their free time? I am always amazed to learn about someone who does something sweet that I had no idea. In fact, I have a friend who wakes up every morning at the crack of dawn and runs 20 miles. No joke. She's amazing. But if I didn't know that about her I never would have guessed as she is a mom, a coach, and works full time. And along with this friend there are also  are those people that I am really starting to question if they are actually robots. Making us humans look mediocre. Sometimes I really want to slide in a comment like... you know there are only 24 hours in a day right? Just checking. People amaze me!

At times I find myself playing a guessing game of what people might do. I know the world doesn't work so black and white but I somewhat believe there are those that either feel they always must be doing something OR those that are completely and utterly content with just hanging. No judgements here! I find my free time depends on the context, what I have going on for the day, and what my timeline dictates. I usually find myself victim to doing things that I think have to get done. But I would love to invest some more time in trying fun new books, being engaged in more of my hobbies, and dabbling into things that have interested me but I haven't given myself the green light to try yet. I'm learning that I do much better with routine and structure. If not, I tend to fall into that all or nothing category.  So I'm excited to experiment with this, and give thanks to all this studying as I have a renewed appreciation of that time. I don't want to waste it trying to catch up on sleep. And I also can't believe I just said that.

So I'm curious, how do you define downtime? And how do you spend your free time? If you had a week 'staycation' what would you do with it? Now that life has slowed down and gas is so cheap (I saw $1.83 the other day) I think I would take the first few days to get those 'must do' priorities done, and then take some small road trips and do some skiing, try one of those art bars, or maybe even get really wild and do a spa day! A girl can dream, eh?

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