In 2013, my New Years Resolution was to stop mindlessly watching TV after work. At that time, I was living and working in Red Deer, Alberta and I had cable. I didn’t have a huge package with loads of channels, but I did have the two most important channels (for me): HGTV and the Food Network. Due to the shortage of jobs in my field (and also to my own stupidity) I had been unemployed for some time before moving to Alberta. I was unaccustomed to working full time and, for the first few months that I lived away, it was a tough transition. I found myself spending far too many evenings lounging on my couch, mindlessly watching House Hunters and Chopped.
These shows are fine and I still love watching HGTV and the Food Network, but I was getting bored. I was spending hours watching TV shows that I wasn’t engaged in and didn’t really care about. I wasn’t excited about watching them or experiencing any joy or happiness, I was just tired after work and wanted to be halfway amused without making any real effort. This was, in my opinion, an enormous waste of time.
If you can manage it (and I definitely could at that point), time away from work should be spent doing things that make you happy. Things to which you are devoting 100% of your attention and that are bringing you a great deal of joy. It could be watching TV series or reading or knitting or playing video games or sports. It could be spending time with your family or friends or your partner. In my opinion, no free time is wasted as long as you’re wholeheartedly enjoying yourself.
I’ve been wasting too much of my free time lately, mostly on YouTube.
We have cable in our home, but I don’t use it. Since I went back to work in 2016, I have replaced HGTV and the Food Network with YouTube. If I can’t decide what I want to do or I’ve had a tough day at the office and I can’t be bothered to make an effort to entertain myself, I watch YouTube videos. Like most folks, I have some weird things that I like (studio apartment tours, Van Life home tours, videos about Japanese food) and a slate of YouTube channels that I watch on a regular basis. I will also sometimes spend hours watching videos about a topic I’d like to learn about. Sometimes all this can be valuable time spent and can be relaxing, but recently I feel like I’m spending too much time watching recommended videos from my home page that I am not particularly engaged by or interested in.
I want to spend my time in treatment doing things that bring me joy and enrich my life. I don’t want to waste my free time vegging out with YouTube. From today on I am going to stop being so lazy and put more effort into having fun. Here’s a short list of things I’ll be doing instead of watching YouTube videos:
Re-watching my favourite anime series
When I’m working, I often feel a bit guilty about watching shows I’ve already seen, reading books I’ve already read or playing video games I’ve already played. I have a unique opportunity right now, however, to revisit some of my favourites. I think that this will be fun, relaxing and a great source of comfort.
Playing simple video games
Normally, I play a lot of console video games; however, since starting chemotherapy, I have had significant issues with neuropathy in my hands and fingers. This makes it difficult for me to play games on handheld consoles or using a controller. Fortunately, I can still play simple mouse and keyboard games, such as as visual novels and adventure games. I have a nice backlog of simple PC games already installed on my laptop that I hope to start playing soon.
I often think that going to school for as long as I did ruined reading for me. After finishing my two degrees, I associated reading books with work and not with relaxation. I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t spent much time reading since 2008. Since I haven’t been able to play video games the way I could prior to my diagnosis, however, I have been reading constantly. My goal is to get through 2-3 books per month while I am in treatment.
Playing with my new puppy
We will be bringing home our new puppy from the breeder on February 19th. I am assuming that house and obedience training will be taking up a good chunk of my time from that day forward. I am so excited that I can hardly contain myself. I have a significant update to share on our puppy situation, but that can wait until we get her home and settled. Please look out for it.
There plenty of other ways that I can purposefully and joyfully spend my free time, but it is my hope that these will be my focus over the coming weeks. I will still watch YouTube from time to time, but I don’t want to let it swallow so many hours from now on. Do you sometimes feel like you aren’t spending enough of your free time doing things that actually bring you joy? Do you have any YouTube guilty pleasures that you can get lost in for hours? Let me know! I’d love to hear all about them!