For most of us, there’s a pretty clear distinction when it comes to “free time”: it’s time we get to spend doing whatever we want, free of any obligations (especially work). If you’re one of those fuckers who loves their job, then perhaps the line is a bit blurrier and free time less precious to you. But for the rest of us, it’s like coffee, or alcohol, or justice, or a green arrow on a left turn: there is never enough of it. Which is why you have to make the most of it. Here’s how.
Something we are terrible at. But if you make an intentional choice (yes, this is something a yoga teacher would say, and thus something we would normally mock mercilessly, but just bear with me) to make your free time just about free time, not about any obligations, you’ll get more out of it. Otherwise, what’s the point? If you’re going to watch a TV show you like, or get a massage, or go on vacation while also answering emails, calls and texts non-stop the whole time, you may as well just turn the TV off, skip the massage, and stay at the office. The ‘conscious effort’ methodology is great for us not just because it will help us truly enjoy our free time, but also because it’s a totally valid excuse to tell everyone to fuck off, which is our favorite thing. #allIwantforChristmasisforyoutofuckoff
If you’re bad at carving out free time, plan ahead to use it. E.g. schedule a vacation a few months in advance, or buy tickets for a show you really want to see right when they go on sale, or promise a friend you’ll take that hike with them next weekend. While we are spectacular at cancelling plans, if we make them, at least that’s a bit more motivation to follow through on our free time-enjoyment efforts. Which brings me to…
Have skin in the game
If you set it up so that you have something to lose by not enjoying your free time, you’ll be more likely to take advantage of it. Like if you spend money on flights for a vacation, you’re unlikely to cancel them. Or if you know that you’ll have to pay for your massage after it’s over, you’ll make more of an attempt to really relax and benefit from it. This is sad of course, because it means we are motivated by money, but that’s what we get for building a capitalistic society. If I had it my way, we’d all still be trading: you give me a goat, I’ll give you some clay beads; you give me a smallpox blanket, I’ll give you your scalp on a fucking platter.
Allow yourself to look out for #1. I’m not saying be like most people and dwell in assholic narcissism, but just that you can enjoy the little things in life and still be a decent human. Remember, as a yoga teacher would also say and make us want to smack them in their fat mouth: in order to help and take care of others, you first have to care for yourself. As Donna Meagle, our collective spirit animal, says, “treat yo’ self.”
Find something you like
I know, this is impossible. But maybe there’s something out there in the world you mildly, tepidly enjoy doing, which will be a good use of your free time. Like, for me, it’s crusading against insurance companies. All of them. Just tornadoing right the fuck through them. For you, it might be quilting, or walking your dog. For Hillary Clinton, it’s committing war crimes. Whatever
ruins the most lives in the name of money and power floats your boat, right?
Remember no one is going to do it for you
I cannot reiterate enough that no👏one👏gives👏a👏shit👏a👏bout👏you👏. If the world had its way, you’d be its slave forever, never getting any free time. No one is going to ensure your life is enjoyable and that you relish your free time for you. It’s on you, boo. It’s like oxygen masks on planes—every man, woman and child for himself. #everyoneelsecanchokeanddie
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