Occupying Free Time

Cambridge, MA, fall 2019

Dear Reader,

If you were unexpectedly granted an evening free from work or commitments, how would you spend it? My guess is that how you consider this question is heavily influenced by whether you are more of a planner or more of a go-with-the-flow type — a type A or a type B. I am the former, a Type A, an organizer, a pre-occupier, etc. 

Today, I received a message from one of my jobs that my shift this evening was cancelled. This is the job that takes me to all different parts of Boston. Today, I was scheduled to a location very near where I live (which is quite rare!). I was happy to finally work in a convenient location, so when I got the message that my shift was cancelled, I was left with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I had an evening free (yoo hoo!), but on the other hand, I was missing out on a nice shift and also on getting paid (boo!). After considering these points, I decided to look upon a free evening as an ultimately good thing. However, I was immediately stumped about how I would spend my free evening.

If were a Type B, I suppose I would have rejoiced and then continued on with my day as usual. Perhaps, as a Type B, I would have just “played it by ear.” Maybe, a Type B would just keep routine and do something that they would likely do on any other evening. A Type B would likely really enjoy the free time and just live in it and do something nice like meet up with friends, watch a movie, or continue on with a project. I, however, Dear Reader, am not a type B.

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, fall 2019 – this morning before the rain

As an extreme Type A, my first order of business was to figure out exactly what hours in my day are now free. While the shift is only three hours, I would need to factor in the commute (relatively short) and the time I take to prep before the shift. With those numbers in mind, I started to think about how alternate evening activities could fit nicely into this time slot. Then, I had to think about my priorities. Knowing that I only had one evening free, would I prefer to work on my personal project, develop my yoga routine, go to the gym, or visit a social group that I am a member of. Each option has its pros and cons and I simply cannot fit everything into one evening. I am suffering from an acute case of decision paralysis! 

However, there is another factor that makes my free evening a little less free. It’s raining and it’s pouring in Boston! Aaaand, I forgot my umbrella. So now, because I just cannot stand getting wet, instead of going out and enjoying my free time, I am huddled here in the office trying to wait it out. At the time of this writing I have about 30 mins left in my quarantine. Therefore, I have now given myself only 30 more minutes to plan and then the rest of the evening to “live.” 

Type A or type B, they both have their perks! Type As generally have a greater sense of urgency which makes them more competitive, ambitious, and more effective planners. Type Bs generally have a more laid back disposition and experience less stress and take more joy in their surroundings. While I will always be a Type A, tonight I will make a plan to NOT plan (well, after the 30 mins I mean)… results TBD. 

Wishing you a relaxing evening, Dear Reader. And if you’re in Boston… stay dry!

Love,

Raven

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