A Curious Situation: Guilt-Free Free Time

March 5, 2008

This is probably going to come off sounding really really dumb. So be it. I had the urge to write, and thus I will.

I’ve found myself in a novel position. I have all my work done for the week, far ahead of time, and I can’t quite figure out what to do with this time. Usually, I would have put the work off until a lot later, and in the process I would have taken a great deal of guilt-filled breaks to do things like read, or hang out with friends. (Okay, that sounds rather crazy… but I already know I’m rather crazy, so stick with me!).

Anyway, I just find it interesting to be in a place where I don’t ‘have’ to do anything. Not that I ever ‘have’ to do anything. But just that most of the time my head is yelling at me because I’m not doing one thing. Or it’s yelling me because I am doing one thing instead of another. But right now I’m at a weird place of clarity where my head is yelling at itself because it doesn’t know what to do.

This is a strange situation I’ve found myself in before. The sort of place where I no longer know what I ‘want’ to do. I know it sounds weird (or maybe it doesn’t… I don’t know how other people deal with their lives), but at certain moments where a great deal of free time opens up, I just don’t know what to do with it. It’s not boredom, per se. I’m almost perfectly happy not doing anything (excepting for the gnawing feeling that I should be doing something). It’s more of the fact that I can’t decide on anything to do and largely don’t really feel like starting any large project that will take more than the present moment to complete.

Again, I realize this is quite weird. Don’t worry, I’m not spending the majority of my time staring off into the void (though I have considered that as a valid way to spend my time [obviously after I’ve gotten all the other work done]). I’ve been reading a great deal lately. A lot of science fiction. I can’t seem to bring myself to go to the library and pick out a non-fiction book to read (perhaps my classes are satisfying enough on that account). It’s the whole ‘long term effort’ conundrum (the science fiction I’m reading are all short stories).

I thought I would report on this strange feeling-space that I’m inhabiting. I usually don’t enter this sort of zone except during long breaks (looking forward to this feeling times 2 next week when I have spring break). I find it odd to end up here smack dab in the middle of the semester.

I wouldn’t mind living here, though. No anxiety. No stress. No ‘has tas’ and ‘need tas.’ Just doing. And then enjoying the not-doing.

As an aside, I think I’m going to shoot for a double major in chemistry and physics. I’ve already got the math minor after next semester (diff eq!), and despite my numerous oscillations, I’ve decided I don’t want the math major enough to make all the crappy (read hard for me) proof writing classes worthwhile. I do think, on the other hand, that I would get great enjoyment out of physics. I can just eke out the eight additional classes I would need to fulfill the physics major (not bad considering I didn’t decide on it until midstream). And if I can get some overlap between the physics and chemistry requirements (I don’t imagine that thermodynamics as taught in physical chemistry and thermodynamics as taught in physics will be all that different… entropy is entropy is entropy), then I might even be able to fit some more math courses in as I please.

Basically, I’m trying to salvage my ambitions for physics. And, well, I need to do something with those 8 free spaces in my schedule (okay, okay, really 6… but I figure I’ll go for the 5-class springs like I did last semester). Why not fill them with physics?

Of course, I’ll just take a 200 level physics course next semester and see where that goes. Considering I’ve already considered and dropped a math major and a neuroscience major, the only constant in my life seems to be chemistry.

Anyway the wind blows, it seems that I won’t have to worry too much about guilt-free free time too much in the coming semesters. Not if my masochistic class-scheduling has anything to say about it!


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