The high cost of free time

Published 8:22 pm Thursday, March 29, 2012

The thing about having free time is that only one of two things will happen. You find and cultivate new, good habits. Or, you engage in the bad ones more fully. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not overeating or breaking my gluten-free ways.

I’ve just realized that eating an entire jar of olives while watching television isn’t the most productive thing anyone can do. Napping can become more of a hassle than a treasure when you’re constantly waking up with aches and pains, not mention a sugar-free Reese’s Cup wrapper stuck to your face.

In other words, bad habits get old all too quickly. While they may be fun at first, they leave an empty feeling inside. Besides, bad habits are bad for a reason. As my dear departed mother found necessary to tell me repeatedly, everything that’s good to you is not necessarily good for you.

So with my newfound free time, I’m trying to find some good habits to pursue. Napping is fun — so fun, it should be an Olympic sport — but man can’t survive on sleep alone.

With the warmer spring weather, exercise seems like a possibility, but I’ve come to realize that you actually have to get off the bed to exercise. So, it hardly seems worth sacrificing a perfectly good bad habit for.

But with treats out there so fiercely delicious, I’ve actually found myself willing to sacrifice a foot to diabetes. After all, it’s not like I’m training to be a dancer or anything. I don’t need both feet. And just having that thought makes me think that perhaps, napping for exercise may just be a good trade.

One of my victories in the battle to make good use of free time is that I’m cooking more. I almost started thinking that the only way chicken could be consumed was if it were McNuggeted. But stepping away from the fast food scene a bit has reintroduced me to what turning on a stove can do for you come dinnertime.

Another bad habit I’m trying to flip is putting things off to the last minute. Procrastination would probably be my biggest bad habit. After all, it’s led to everything from missed opportunities, lost money and, most tragically, diabetes. Putting off my health is by far my worst habit of all. And one that, sadly, can’t be totally undone.

But with a barrage of good habits, I can at least reverse my condition to a point where the thought of losing a foot to enjoy a creamy, sweet treat is not a serious consideration.

Now that spring is here, it’s good to see things in a fresh new light. Time to toss out the bad habits and make free time a plus, not a minus. Otherwise, free time is no longer free. You’ll definitely pay for it.