(I was going to title this post “taking my life back,” but that seemed a little dramatic.)
So. Finn and I were discussing finances the other night (cue ominous music…) and trying to figure out ways we could cut back, what we could cut out, etc. We’re by no means poor – working day in and day out with people who are well under 100% of the federal poverty guidelines has taught me a thing or two about what it means to be poor, and I make a point to feel grateful for my unearned blessings every day – but we don’t exactly resemble anything approaching wealthy, either. Which is fitting, I suppose, as we’re both just starting out.
Anyway – to the point, pom! – we were trying to decide whether to cancel our cable, and during our discussion we came to count how many hours a day we spend watching TV. And it was not good, my friends. Not good at all. In fact, it caused me quite a fit of existential panic – I’ve wasted how many hours of my life on something mindless, purposeless, and completely useless to myself and the world? Really???
So, reel it in we shall. Finn and I are now severely limiting our TV intake (though we’ve decided to keep cable, as it doesn’t make much of a dent in our budget and when we DO watch tv, we’d like to watch things we enjoy.) I also had a related moment of panic regarding my wasted internet time. Between facebook, twitter, gmail, and google reader, I think half my life has been frittered away on… nothing. So, I installed a Firefox add-on that blocks you from certain websites, or internet access altogether, during certain times of the day or after you’ve been online for a specific amount of time. Brilliant!
I’m left with this strange anxiety, though. What am I going to do with all this time? It’s freeing, of course, to commit to no longer being a brainwashed vegetable, but it also leaves a bizarre emptiness. TV and internet were my post-work go-to activities (in part because, due to my aforementioned failure to resemble a wealthy person, I can’t afford classes, gym memberships, lessons, etc. and also because I’m tired when I get home.) I only have about 4 hours between getting home from work and going to bed – I spend all day on the computer at work, so I hate the idea of coming home and wasting my evenings sitting on the couch, silently staring, the way I spend my days. I want to read more. I want to keep up with my working out (at home, thank you Jillian Michaels). I want to spend more quality time with Finn, less time sitting next to her watching TV, disconnected. I want to write more. I want to re-connect with my family and friends in a manner that doesn’t require a modem – more phone calls, more snail mail, more going out and visiting.
Okay, so obviously I have some goals. But I could use some suggestions, as I try and end this addiction. What do you do with your free time? What have I been missing out on? Help!