Winter has finally arrived here with below freezing temperatures and snow, although luckily not as much as some areas of the country are getting. Unfortunately, for me, that means much more time spent indoors. I am finding myself for the first time having to think about how to fill the time I now save from lack of household chores to keep up on. So I thought you might be interested in what I found to do, and not do.
What I don’t want to do
watch television: Friends, who know I don’t have a television, have asked me frequently if I joined Netflix now that I could get high speed internet. They love the service and if you enjoy movies and television I can see why. I simply answered that I would consider it when the weather kept me indoors more. I finally did try the service and can say Netflix does a great job in streaming movies and television shows.
Yet I had two problems with this personally. The first was that I don’t really have an interest in television shows so there wasn’t much there for me. As for movies, well my complaint has been for years that there isn’t anything new, creative or thought provoking to watch.
My second problem was me. I should have known this wouldn’t be for me. I rarely rent a movie, and in the last eight years I went to see two movies in the theater. The first was Radio because my then teenage son asked me to go as part of our mommy-son outings. The other was this past summer, I took my 3 year old grandchildren (along with their mother) to see Angry Birds Rio, which was their first movie to see in a theater.So streaming movies is out. Staring at a picture screen any more than I have to just isn’t for me.
What I do want to do with my new-found free time
- Books. I have had a love affair with books since I learned to read, which I’m told was at age 3. But in the spirit of saving space and money, not to mention my interest in living lighter, I frequent the local library. We go to the library every two weeks and make this a family outing. My son and his wife, who live locally, have twin 3 year old children. Extra hands are much appreciated at this age. So they join me, or I join them whichever way you want to look at it.
- Helping my son edit a manuscript. It turns out my very talkative son is a very gifted writer, I am very happy to have the time to help him.
- Needlework. I enjoy creating things, and do a little cross-stitch, crocheting, and even less quilting. Most recently I completed a colorful thickly quilted blanket for my youngest grandchild to line the pack and play crib she uses to sleep in when she visits.
- Spend more time with family and friends. With the increase in the hours we work, and the demands on our non-working hours we have lost the time to connect face-to-face. I’m enjoying having more time for this.
- Exercise. We need to take care of ourselves before we can be there for others, exercise is a big part of having the life I want to live.
- Time to work on career goals. Changing my life situation allows me time to plan out a change in how I support myself financially.
An exceptional day
Yesterday was a good example of how I spend some of my days. I joined my daughter-in-law grocery shopping with the children. My grand daughter picked out food she wanted to bring to my house for dinner. I gave my children a break by having the little ones dropped off at my place for a couple hours.
We set out by preparing dinner, which is always fun with small children as they are so eager to help. After dinner we played a game of Candy Land, put together puzzles, played “princess” memory, a couple hands of Go Fish cards. Go Fish is something new we added to the list of activities and they caught on surprisingly quick. When they were tired of the games they asked to color and while coloring a picture mom and dad showed up to collect them.
Once my family left, I cleaned up the dishes, mopped the entry way from the snow and salt that can get tracked in ( a note here, with a small space the bare floor is just the right size to bend down and wipe clean with a damp rag, what a time saver), worked out, and took time to finish a book I had been reading while enjoying a cup of herbal tea and listening to some music.
There hadn’t been as many pages left to my book as I thought, rather than pick up another one, I picked up a cross stitch and completed a little more of it when my sister called. She and I don’t talk often, but lately I am glad for the time I get to spend with her. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy and can use an ear now and then.
To end my evenings, unless I have overnight guests I put on some relaxing music and take time to meditate before retiring.
No stress, Life is good
After years of overly-filled schedules and demands on my time this is very different, but in a good way. I am enjoying my days even in winter, yet I am looking fondly forward to spring when life can again move back outdoors. What are you doing to fill your hours this winter?