Fear of free time

One of the major benefits of going freelance is not having to commute.

I know, I know – it’s the least original moan ever but, for those of us who live outside the capital, the struggle is real! Heck, it’s pretty real for a lot of people who live in the capital. And for anyone who even has to look at a Southern Rail train.

In my last job, my typical commute would take around an hour and 40 minutes each way – that’s three hours 20 minutes every day spent travelling. And that doesn’t include delays, cancellations or diversions to meetings en route.

That’s 200 minutes a day for, say, 250 days a year: 50,000 minutes, or just over 833 hours (I got a lot reading done).

Excuse me while I go and weep.

And don’t even get me started on the cost of that. Seriously, don’t.

That commute would entail a walk, an overground train, another walk, a tube and then a final walk.

Today I shuffled down a flight of stairs, put the kettle on and was at my desk inside ten minutes of waking up.

So, going freelance, even if I continue to work the same number of hours a week, gains me 833 hours every single year, or almost 17 hours a week.

That is terrifying. What the hell am I going to do with all that time?

I’ve been rushing around and cramming my life into my very limited amount of free time for so long that I find the idea of three spare hours every day a little intimidating at the moment, if I’m being entirely honest.

I don’t like sitting still, reading a book for an hour in the middle of the day feels terrifically self-indulgent, and there are only so many runs I can go on before my legs fall off* (*they may not actually fall off).

Don’t get me wrong, there are things I will now have the time for which I absolutely relish the opportunity to do – spending more time with my grandparents, seeing my godson more often, meeting up with friends at a more reasonable hour, to name just a few.

But I’ve spent all these years working on my career when, clearly, I should have been working on getting a hobby.

I thought about getting into gardening but I’m the person who runs inside to cower in fear at the first sight of a spider/worm/similar. Putting flowers in a vase is the extent of my green-fingeredness and, I’ll be honest, I usually forget to change the water.

I can’t knit or sew – the last time I tried cross stitch was in school when I was nine, and I accidentally sewed through so my picture of a flower was attached to my skirt. It was heart-breaking; I had to unpick the whole thing.

I’ve been threatening to learn a language for about a decade but suspect my Spanish may never be more sophisticated than ‘Dos cervezas por favour’.

And, beyond some rather intricate doodling, I can’t draw to save my life.

I guess I’ll probably just work an extra three hours a day then.

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