I've had time on my hands before. Specific time in specific places that maybe I didn't make the very, very most of. I would never say I regret how I spent my time. That's too harsh a word because I don't regret any of it. I don't regret, for instance, spending many a weekday evening in the pub with my friends when I spent a semester abroad in London, rather than touring castles. I don't regret getting in trouble with my friend Mark for talking through classes in high school, rather than, you know, actually learning chemistry, which might have gotten me a better grade point average and so on and so on. I don't regret all that homemade soap I made, or all the episodes of "Sex and the City" I watched, last time I was unemployed, because, first of all, it's a fun story to tell, and second, sometimes downtime - a lot of it - gets you exactly where you need to be after all. Now I've got time on my hands again and am beginning to fill in the gaps. With volunteering and possible part-time writing work on the horizon, I'm on the verge of feeling better about my schedule, although I'll need a lot more going on before I feel busy, and therefore, truly productive again.
But before I go rushing off this way and that I thought it might be good to take a step back and do a few of the things I've always thought might be fun. The things we categorize as "things we should really do," but never do. Since money is a factor, I'm not talking about a trip to Paris, which J and I should really do, but things like visiting a state park I've never seen before, or checking out a class at UNC, just for kicks. Going to the planetarium for a midday show. Touring the botanical gardens. Seeing a new beach or mountain town. Viewing an art exhibit - maybe something I'm not even, initially, that interested in. Attempting to spot a Painted Bunting before my husband does, and then play it off like I really wasn't that impressed by it, just to get to him a little.
Just kidding about that last one. Sort of.
I thought that perhaps in the interest of involving my readers, which I've tried to do before regularly, and somewhat unsuccessfully (the essay contest, and haikus, both items I should bring back, I think) I would ask all of you to provide me with a weekly dare. I fear the word "dare" might have some of you excited that you can tell me to walk down Franklin St. naked, singing, because, I told you to dare me so COME ON, JUST DO IT! But that's not what I'm getting at. My thought is that you guys might have some great ideas, or dares, for a girl with a lot of time on her hands, and I promise, in return, to provide pictures and a riveting, or at least explanatory, review of my adventure.
I'm thinking along the lines of worthwhile activities that will help me learn more about the world, or help me meet some interesting people and see some interesting places, rather than acts that will get me attention. I will not, in the course of my dares, 1) do anything solely to get attention 2) hurt anyone's feelings 3) compromise my morals or 4) go into the woods on my own, or do anything involving graveyards or, basically, anything that could be the first scene of a horror movie.
I'm putting myself in your hands. Give me some good ideas in the comments, and I promise to follow through, and tell you all about it.