I need ideas on new ways to kill free time!

I’m in a rut. I spend way too much time in front of the computer. It’s snowballing into layabout habits and creeping into inactivity and inertia that’s sucking the energy out of me. Give me some ideas that are cheap to do, places to go, even if it’s just to go pound sand for a while (which I could totally do, I live right by the beach). I need to get moving, my cardiovascular health is suffering a bit. I’ve outgrown the nightclubbing scene and only go out with a few people a couple nights a month any more.

Speaking of pounding sand, I was thinking maybe I’ll start taking walks up and down the beach, it’s good exercise. I do have issues with plantar faciitis, so don’t know if it’s a good idea to do barefoot, if there are special shoes I should buy, or if I should just assign an older pair of running shoes to the task of being permanently sandy and/or wet.

I’m not a sports person, but can be competitive, so I don’t know where that could lead. Not fond of joining gyms, and my schedule is prohibitive of joining classes that aren’t in the afternoon/evenings or more than once a week. I enjoy the arts, thinking of seeing where taking up photography (again) for self-entertainment may take me. Any ideas about what subjects might take me traveling outside my neighborhood on days off? One problem I always had was coming up with a theme or something to focus my focusing on.

Eh. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve just kind of become a big pile of “meh” and need to switch things up a bit.

Take a French immersion course in another province.
Become a test subject for a contract research organization.
Learn to program.
Walk everywhere about town.
Learn to design stories.
Translate stuff.
Take the local buses instead of the interregional services to a relatively-distant destination, just to see how possible it is.
Clean under the bed.
File everything.
Travel by train.
Ride the top deck of an intercity bus and look up through the roof windows at how close the bottoms of the overpasses flashing by are.

These are among the things that have been keeping me from boredom. :slight_smile:

Wikipedia School of Physiotherapy recommends stretching, massage, and both heat and cold therapy. So try walking barefoot in the sand (hot or not), varied with wading in the lake.

If it hurts too much, try fishing instead:


Free days at Chicago museums:

(doesn’t include always-free venues such as the Lincoln Park Zoo; thin list because the museums don’t like to give away product during school holidays and prime vacation time)

Also free – Grant Park concerts:


(you can get free passes to Ravinia at the library, but there are a limited number and they tend to go quickly)
Art needlework is an inexpensive, traditionally female pastime, ideally producing useful and beautiful items. Picture yourself lolling around at the beach, knitting next winter’s sweater vests, hats, scarves, and mittens …

Re: the photography aspect–I love walking around and taking pictures of just about anything that catches my eye. Not necessarily the big famous things, but little idiosyncratic stuff like unique storefront displays or signs or strange things left on the curb or murals in an alley somewhere. I guess the theme could be “stuff you might see walking around Chicago”.

Yanno, for a while I toyed with the idea of a photo journal called “Jesus Rides the Red Line” with stuff just like that. I still have a picture somewhere of a walker chained to a stop sign that was there for months, with bicycle-handle streamers on the handles, and tennis balls on the front two feet. Inexplicable.

I also had started taking a few pictures of people on the CTA and walking around with inexplicable hairstyles and toyed with the idea of starting a website called “WTF Hair?” This was a long time before “People of Wal-Mart” and “People of the CTA.” Sigh.

So there’s one thing I guess I should take up again, though I think twice these days about snarky stuff like the hair. But, jeez, have you seen what some people walk around with on their heads??

Thank you Sunspace, I think I can glean a couple of those ideas. Yeah, file stuff… that would go under the “clean the house” category that I just am not overcoming the inertia for so far…

My faciitis is under control right now. I walk around the house with no shoes. I’ve had it flare up once since the first time, and that took about 3 months to get better, so I’m cautious about walking distances with no arch support - but I think the sand might provide just enough, so I’ll give it a shot. I guess I can still sacrifice an old pair of runners if I like it enough but end up needing the support.

I always forget about the museums, but my only free day is Thursday. Hey, didn’t the Art Institute used to be free all day on either Tuesdays or Thursdays? I swear I remember going there during lunch often when I worked downtown back in the 90’s. We’d get a sidewalk dog and then cruise the museum for about 45 minutes.

Needlework - I think there are still some Stitch-n-Bitch groups around here somewhere. I’m not sure I have the patience, plus it’s more sitting, though it sure doesn’t have to be in front of the monitor!

Adopt a greyhound and go for long walks?

I don’t know how much support these would have but those slipper-looking swim shoes would be easily rinsed off and dried for walking on the beach.

Collect more shells. We’re going to make a backsplash for the sink made with broken shells set in concrete (?) on a thin board, then covered with shellac.

Jingles are for a small Tiffiny-like lampshade.

Collect different colored sea glass, those smoothed shards from broken bottles etc.

Join in pick-up volley ball games.

Take photographs of everything that catches your eye and let the various themes reveal themselves later.

Work jigsaw puzzles while watching TV. This can become addictive. :slight_smile:

Try to get to know somebody new and find out what they like to do.

Volunteer for something.

Maybe there’s a shelter near you that needs dog walkers, an old folks home that needs people to run errands or just keep a lonely person company for an hour.

Or guerrilla gardening. Find a piece of scrappy land in an urban area. Clear it, weed it, plant some wild flowers or some rosemary and lavendar bushes.

I am jealous you have free time, so I got nothing. :slight_smile:
How about finding a friend with kids who would kill for some free time and baby sit for them so they can get away for a while?

Go to the beach! I wish I was lucky enough to live as close to one. :slight_smile:

Thanks, guys!

I hit the beach yesterday, and I think sticking with sandals will be OK for now. While going barefoot is nice, there’s enough debris I’m not comfortable striding with purpose without looking down, unless I’ve got something for protection.

Took some pictures while I was at it, with the storm fronts moving in and out around here lately, there are some neat color and cloud formations happening over the lake.

I’m trying to step away from the “I don’t have to” and “I don’t feel like it” and just make myself get out of the house. Once I’m going, it’s fine. Just gotta do it all the time!

Maybe I’ll start walking to work, I think it’s just a couple miles. We’ll see. I kinda hate the sun, so I might be limited to overcast days, but that would still be more than none.

Animal shelters ALWAYS need help.

Try Geocaching. It’s done wonders for me. It combines long walks in out of the way places with a treasure hunt. Great way to get out of the house and get a bit of exercise.

I find threads like this facinating, my suggestions would be similar to the others. My hobbies please me so maybe they will please you also.

 Has anyone ever developed a methodology for finding a new hobby or passion when we get stuck in a rut? Are their any books on the subject that go beyond suggesting various things. I would think a simple aptitude type test might be able to steer us in the right direction.

Wow, this is neat. I checked four zip codes of areas I hang out the most, and each one has at least 30 caches within a mile, including right where I live. I’ve never heard of this before and it sounds like something I’d really enjoy. Plus, I can pick a neighborhood, geocache, and maybe find subjects for photos, too. Total win. I think I can even find a couple other people who would like to do this with me - having someone to do it with will make me actually leave the house…

Ah, the volunteering stuff is what I suggest to other people, too! I already work for an animal shelter and am totally conked out on volunteerism after dealing with ours all day. It sounds really weird to say, but I’m less charitable to other charities since I started working for one ten years ago! Being underpaid and considering that a sort of donation of my talents is part of that mentality. But - I have health insurance and get 6 weeks of vacation, so it’s not all bad being in this poorhouse.