You’ve just retired early or are taking a career break. All of a sudden you find yourself overwhelmed with an abundance on that one thing that you were once starved off.
I’ve found that having lots of spare time can be confronting. I keep sliding into a strangely despondent state of feeling guilty that I’m not making the most of my free time. When I was stuck in the office I’d dream of the day when I could do anything I wanted. And here I am. All the time in the world and I’m wondering what to do.
Self-reflection is a wonderful thing and I’ve found it a powerful tool in dealing with situations such as this.
So I reflect, “What does having all this time on my hands allow me to do that I couldn’t hope to do whilst working full-time and keeping busy being busy?”
I reply: “They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. You have 10,000 hours. Become an expert”
So here’s what I’ll do. I’ll fill my days focused on gaining skills that I couldn’t ordinarily do because I didn’t have the time. Because these skills take such a massive investment in time they become almost like superpowers, only available to those that have opted out of the rat-race with the resources to commit to a long term project.
I’ll take up bike touring and train my body to cycle 100km, sleep in a tent, wake up and carry on. Day after day, week after week. Around New Zealand’s South Island, then from Melbourne to Thailand and beyond.
I’ll continue to meditate every day. Already I can now sit cross-legged for an hour and sometimes even manage to keep my mind at rest. This I could never have done whilst desk-bound with a cluttered mind worrying about running a business or managing IT projects.
I’ve always struggled to write. It takes me a long time to put even a few paragraphs together and it’s easy for me to give in to distraction and just give up. Now I have no valid distractions. Therefore I have no reasonable excuses not to write. I just need to push on and get through it.
By having a few Superpower projects bubbling gives me something to use to push aside boredom or self-doubt. If it’s a nice day I’ll spend 3 hours on the bike. If I wake up early I’ll meditate. When I feel like I need some screentime then write a blog article instead of watching Netflix or scrolling through Facebook. These sorts of projects a nice surrogate for career & business advancement that may no longer hold the same relevance as they once did.
That’s enough for today’s blog, I have plenty of other things to do.