Sunday, September 16, 2018

Hours spent

I have been sick this past week, so I have spent long hours resting and healing.  Mostly that meant watching movies or sleeping.  When you're sick, spending long hours doing nothing is expected and helpful.

But when you're healthy, there are cultural judgements made about how you spend your time.  Here are some examples.

"I spent 4 hours hiking."  Yay, good for you, that's super healthy.

"I spent 4 hours reading."  Good, that's a good way to spend your time.

"I spent 4 hours doing crochet."  Meh, did you make something cool?

"I spent 4 hours playing video games."  Ugh, what a waste.

It's entirely possible that I'm the only one with those internalized judgements, but I'm willing to bet you have a similar ranking, even if the activities vary.  My reaction to spending many hours doing something is strongly skewed towards whether it is "useful" - did I learn something, make something, or accomplish something?  If so, time well spent.

This can be very maladaptive, judging time spent relaxing as a "waste" of time.  Even knowing that time spent relaxing is a good use of my time, I am a product of my culture - activities that are more relaxing for the time spent are "better" than others.

I am trying to change how I think, but it is difficult.  How we spend our time is an intensely personal decision.  And there are countless different parties telling us how to spend our time.  Knowing who to listen to and when is a lifelong challenge.