WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THAT TIME?
Once the kids are off your hands you find you have so much more free time. The only question is "How are you going to use it?" Sitting around and looking at each other and saying "we really should do something..." isn't really conducive to an active and interesting midlife relationship. Expecting your other half to entertain you for the next 40 years is hardly the stuff of healthy relationships.
So, instead of thinking "what am I going to do with myself now I don't need to work full time" or "what will I do now I'm not running the kids around everywhere" it's time to think "Yay! Now I've got time to learn that new skill/catch up with my friends more often/take that trip I've been wanting to go on/ start that yoga class I've been thinking about/ etc etc". Young Me would envy how much time midlife Me has at my disposal so I really don't want to let her down by completely wasting all those hours I have available to me.
Because I'm still tied to a work schedule, the round the world trip, or the six week vacation will probably take a back seat for another decade or so. I have big plans for Europe and maybe even the US when I get to retirement - all I need is a windfall to pay for it and I'll be on my way - I might even bring my husband if he plays his cards right! In the meantime, we've taken a few little sorties off to places around us - other States of Australia, Bali and a couple of trips with my mum. It's nice to see a little bit of the world, but it also reminds me of how much I love being at home with all its familiar comforts.
We've been known to dig out the motorbike (my husband's midlife crisis) and take it for a spin on balmy afternoons. Or if the weather isn't too fabulous, we take the car and head somewhere for afternoon tea or a movie. It's lovely spending time together where we're not thinking about all the things we should be doing instead - the chores can wait.
Spare time has meant dabbling in a few new hobbies. One of my friends has recently taken up golf and is loving it. I don't see myself hitting a little white ball around the greens - missing that hole would drive me crazy, but she is really enjoying it and finding an added connection to her golf loving husband.
For me, trying my hand at stained glass was a great way to get the ball rolling. I've loved learning a new skill and although I probably won't be turning our house into a cathedral any time soon, it was fun having a go at something I've never tried before. I've also been out riding my bicycle - not as often as I'd planned, but I smile every time I see it parked in our garage with its little wicker basket.
|Use that extra free time for fun ~ Zen to Zany|
PRACTICAL AND NOT SO PRACTICAL
Sometimes free time is all about doing nothing. On the days I don't work I sleep in - ahhhh the bliss of not having to get up at the crack of dawn to drive to work. I've been known to have a weekend nap every now and then too - no responsibilities means no problems when it comes to stretching out on the couch for an hour of napping under a snuggly rug.
I do try to use some of that extra leisure for more practical pursuits. I mentor a little boy at our local primary school once a week, I catch up with friends for coffee and conversation, I do all those chores that used to get relegated to the weekend. And best of all by far, we can take a day occasionally to drive up to see our kids and our little granddaughter - she's growing up so fast and is delightful - so delightful that she's going to get a post of her own too! I'll even include a couple of pics because she's so cute!
THE SHEER LUXURY OF TIME
THE SHEER LUXURY OF TIME
I feel like midlife means less juggling of my time and priorities. I don't need to balance work and family, I don't need to squeeze housework in between other commitments, I don't have to decide what to cook for tea every night, or whose turn it is to do the dishes or feed the dog. Life is just smoother and more relaxed. Free time has that effect on you, where if it doesn't get done today, then it will get done tomorrow or the next day. It's almost like being on vacation in your own home - it's a luxury I'll never take for granted.