Without constant homework assignments and social activities to keep me busy, I’m thinking about the ways I can spend my time. This is a rest-of-life sort of thing. In the US we spend a lot of our time at work. What are good ways of spending our time off?
There were two guys in my basketball class last Jan term who said that they spent three hours working out every day. It was a hobby “with great benefits.”
I read a David Foster Wallace essay on television that said that, on average, Americans spend six hours a day watching the tube. Three hours of weights and cardio doesn’t seem so bad as long as it’s a substitute for six hours of TV.
I’ve broken down positive activities into some categories. If you can think of an activity that does not fit into one of these, then please add a new category. I’ve got: fixing, preserving, adding, and observing. Each of these categories can be either personal or communal.
Preserving includes all those things we do to perpetuate what’s already happening. I think we spend most of our time on this. Communal preserving is doing the dishes (if you live with other people), parenting, etc. Personal preserving is making enough money to live on, staying healthy, and keeping in touch with friends.
Fixing requires something to be broken or in the red. Communal fixing includes: saving the world, the green movement, fighting injustices, etc. Personal fixing could be weight loss, a night of heavy drinking, or doing whatever to relax or unwind.
Adding is like fixing. The difference is that fixing adds from a negative to zero, and adding starts from zero and increases. Art is generally addition. Communal adding is creating anything for other people: a meal, a painting, a piece of music, etc. Personal adding includes education, reading, and whatever else adds to your character or abilities.
Observing only applies to activities that are not for one’s own benefit. So I guess it has to be communal. You are observing when you are paying respect or noticing details because the thing has details or deserves respect. It’s reading a book because it’s beautiful – not in order to educate or amuse yourself. It’s listening in order to create space for something to be said.
I’ve listed the categories in order of appearance in life. (I really mean life after college. In college, the primary thing we spend our time doing is personal adding.)
A list of non-rhetorical questions:
Is this how it should be?
What would life look like if the order were different?
Is one category better than another? Is communal better than personal?
I’m just kicking this around today and would like to know what you think.