3 In Writer's Life/ Midlife Crisis Fodder/ Thoughts & Observations

Units of Time – How Would You Spend a Free Day?

My birthday is creeping up and, like a good and dutiful man should, my husband approached me yesterday and asked me how I wanted to spend my special day.  I knew what I wanted without thinking: Nothing.  For one full day I wanted to have NOTHING on my agenda.

Kind of lame, huh?

I started thinking about a particular scene in one of my all time favorite, albeit quirky, movies—About a Boy.  Hugh Grant is the lead, a pretty immature adult who’s never had to work because he’s been able to live off the royalties of his father’s one-hit-wonder song, but who’s taught how to act like a grown up by a little boy.  The scene I keep replaying is the one where he describes how he passes the time for each day:

I find the key is to think of a day as units of time, each unit consisting of no more than thirty minutes.  Full hours can be a little bit intimidating and most activities take about half an hour.  Taking a bath: one unit, watching Countdown: one unit, web-based research: two units, exercising: three units, having my hair carefully disheveled: four units.  It’s amazing how the day fills up, and I often wonder, to be absolutely honest, if I’d ever have time for a job; how do people cram them in?

Here’s the actual clip, which is totally worth the watch for the visual irony alone:

I remember when my days used to have this kind of fluidness.  I’ve never been without a job (and yes, I’m including when I was a full-time mommy and nothing else), but BK (before kids) I do remember having a whole lot more discretionary time.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying I’d trade my babies for discretionary time, but I did manage to smell the roses a whole lot more back in those days.  For a mom/writer/full-time IT manager, increments of time are PRECIOUS.  I definitely measure my day in units of time, only they look much different than Hugh’s in the movie and are usually accented by frantic lines of worry across my forehead.  It’s the only way I can manage to cram three full-time personas into one twenty-four hour period.

So, yeah, for my birthday this year what I want is twenty-four hours of no agenda.  Forty-eight “units” that I can fit together like the old days.  I’ll jump back into my time-conscious mindset after I’m officially one year deeper into my midlife crisis and revel in the chaos of juggling my mommy/writer/manager personas.

What about you?  Do you hyper-manage every second of your day?  Or are you more free-form, letting the day take you where it needs to go?  If you got a free day, how would you fill your time?  Lazing away, reading a book or watching a favorite show?  Or would you tackle the great outdoors for a hike or camping expedition?  Maybe I should take a clue from Hugh and spend four units getting my hair carefully disheveled.  🙂



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  • Reply
    Marianna Ramondetta Heusler
    October 9, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I would like to spend a full day in bed, watching Murder She Wrote reruns, eating Godiva chocolates. Maybe when I’m in a nursing home? (If I’m lucky to enjoy it then!)

  • Reply
    CJ Burright
    October 9, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Oh, an entire day of doing only whatever I feel like doing sounds like heaven. Catch up on my shows. Surf the net without any purpose. Curl up on the couch and read an entire book…maybe I should call in sick and make the dream happen. 🙂

  • Reply
    October 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Write. 😉

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