The Curse of Free Time
Everyone’s busy these days. Busy. Busy. Busy.
Remember free time? Remember complaining about being bored when you were a kid?
A friend recently commented on Facebook that she was bored and asked for suggestions to end her boredom. I didn’t comment, but my first thought was that any time you’re bored you should just sit back and enjoy it.
All too often in the world today, we treat free time like a disease to be cured. Free time is an empty container that we can’t stand to see empty so we start looking around for things to put in there. Entertainment, activity, busy-work . . . don’t let the container sit empty long.
Of course, some of what we put in there is good stuff (and some isn’t!). But I wonder what might blossom in that empty cup if we let it sit a moment. It might even be worthwhile to plan time when there’s nothing pressing. Nothing that has to be or ought to be done. What might grow then?
When we were kids, boredom was the mother of invention. Free, unscheduled time was when we came up with our best (and sometimes worst) ideas. We played games. We used our imaginations. We built stuff. Sure, we also fell out of trees and got hit in the head with rocks (who threw that?!?), but those were important lessons, too.
I know I’m guilty of feeling like I have to do something useful with free time. That I need to accomplish something that I can point to at the end.
My challenge to you as summer winds down is to give yourself the gift of free time with no plan or agenda. Take a day, an afternoon, or even an hour and give yourself the freedom to experience this disease we call free-time. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be contagious.