Dear Carolyn: After being overweight and exhausted constantly for the past 10 years, I’ve recently started losing weight, exercising, and generally taking better care of myself. Now I sleep less and have way more energy.
And time. Having more time is, in theory, a great thing, but my problem is, I have no idea what to do with it. And it’s making me anxious so I wind up right back on the couch staring at the TV. I live alone and don’t have a significant other, although I do have a good circle of friends. I volunteer on a regular basis, and attend grad school part time.
I have a few hobbies I enjoy, but even with that, there’s too much time on my hands, and into the void slip worries and what-ifs.
I realize I have an amazing opportunity to do … something, but I don’t even know where to start.
I can almost hear people thinking they wish they had your problem — that and “Hello, museums, books, music, foreign languages, art … ?”
But I think that’s actually part of why you struggle. There’s a sense that you should be doing more.
Yet it’s hard to think of anything more personal — as in, less suited to the viewpoints of others — than how you use your free time. What do you have a knack for, what are you passionate about, what brings you joy?
Or, if that’s still too big to wrap your mind around, look around you: Where do you see the greatest need that is also meaningful to you?Whatever you end up making of all this, you still accomplished something difficult and significant. Congratulations on breaking a 10-year-long bad habit, against what must have been a powerful gravitational pull.