Weekend Wramblings: Free Time
Free time? What’s that?
A common refrain heard across college campuses in response to the question: “What do you like to do in your free time?”
But free time, while limited in college, is still a thing. An arguably very important thing. In my humble opinion, having free time and how you spend it can make or break your college experience. Let me explain what I mean.
But seriously, what is “free time”?
I learned a word when I was in Spain, and I hope any Spanish-speaking readers of my blog correct me if I’m wrong. Please keep in mind, my teachers and professor were all speaking Spanish the entire time, so this was completely explained to me in another language. But the word ocio literally translates to “leisure”. The way it was explained to me was that you have time to work, time to sleep, time to fulfill obligations like meals and taking care of pets or family members, and whatever is left over is dubbed ocio. This is complete “me time”. No other focus but enjoying time either alone or with others with no purpose other than to enjoy.
We do have the word “leisure” in the English language, but for some reason this distinction really clicked for me when I heard it in Spanish. I’m a language nerd, I know. Recognizing that this time is a specific, set time after and aside from obligations is important.
Here’s what free time is not:
- watching Netflix in the background while you eat dinner in your dorm.
- Listening to music while you work out (unless working out is truly a leisure activity for you, but for myself it’s definitely an obligation)
- Having YouTube videos playing while you work on homework
Free time is free of all other distractions other than the distraction you have chosen to enjoy.
Ok, thanks for getting al technical on me, Isabelle. So why does it matter?
Thanks for asking, italicized words that represent the reader response!
Importance of free time
I guess you know that free time is important. As humans, we can’t function on constant “going”. The daily grind is necessary and important. But it is not 100% of who we are, and without a break we just might break. Of course, our bodies and minds need rest and sleep. But ocio doesn’t include sleep. Ocio is the time we allow ourselves to become more well-rounded human beings. When we can explore our passions and hobbies, as well as develop relationships with people outside of the contexts of school and work. Without free time, we’re kinda like single-minded robot things with nothing but an on/off button.
Using free time well
When asked the inevitable question: “What do you do in your free time?” I never have a great answer. I can never pick just one thing. Something like, “I usually just read or watch Hulu. Oh, and I guess I do social things like go to sports games and worship events on the weekend.” And that’s totally fine! You should have variety in your free time so that you can learn more, do more, see more, and become a more whole person.
I do like to read and watch Hulu when I’m having personal time, which is 100% necessary. Especially for a partial introvert like me. But I have to make sure I am still balancing that time with social things, where I can focus on other people and building relationships with them. I also try to switch up my “me time”. I mostly tend towards novels and anything fiction, and any crime, medical, or humor based TV show. But I also throw in news and listening to podcasts to make myself smarter and a better citizen of the world. I’ll even watch a TED talk every now and then. Yep, nerd status over here.
Excuse me while I go do some extra ocio this weekend to rewards myself for a week of exams! What do you like to do in your free time?