I have always been intrigued by the ways people spend their free time. I know individuals who would rather spend every second of their lives participating in some activity while others prefer downtime.
But what is downtime? It's a moment when you don't have to worry about your surroundings or obligations. Instead, you are alone with your thoughts and feelings.
I really appreciate time alone. While I was in school, I looked forward to nights when I didn't have to go to class the next day so I could come home and do absolutely nothing. My time was mine, and I was free to spend it doing whatever I wanted.
Others, though, are the opposite. As soon as they get a moment's rest, they are going somewhere or doing something. These activities can be relaxing, but they require a certain amount of effort and sustained energy that is exhausting to those of us who need our quiet time.
I sometimes wonder how people develop one trait as opposed to the other. What makes certain people more willing to sit on their couch versus going on an adventure? For me, I believe it comes from being an only child. I had to learn how to keep myself occupied, instead of always having siblings to entertain me or parents who needed to keep a group of small children busy.
Through the years, I found myself becoming exhausted if a week went on without any downtime, and my mother used to say that I needed a day of rest. But we can change our habits. A few years ago, while I was getting my master's degree, I took a part-time retail job. Before this job, I considered myself to be more of an introvert. I wasn't exactly quiet, but talking to strangers for eight hours a day didn't come naturally.
Retail involves standing all day, talking all day, explaining foreign concepts to people, and convincing them to spend money. While at first it was a struggle and adjustment, it quickly became a part of who I am.
In my new profession, I find that I want to spend more of my downtime around people. On my days off, or even during breaks in the day, I gain comfort and energy from talking rather than sitting quietly with my thoughts. I still have the urge to have alone time, but not as often.
It's interesting how our environment shapes us. That especially gives me comfort as I start a new job full of new people and new requirements. We always experience the struggle of adjusting, but eventually most of us establish a new comfort zone.
Contact Corin Harpe firstname.lastname@example.org.
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