Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: What to do to fill free time?

 

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.

Quo Vadis?

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.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.

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