Tonight will be my second free evening in a row, and I have no meetings scheduled for tomorrow night, either! This might not sound like anything terribly impressive, but let me assure you that for as many hours as I spend at church and as many evenings that bring me back here, having three evenings free in a row is more than a blessing...it's a miracle!
Last night was a quiet evening in. I did some knitting, Matt watched the World Series, and I got cranky at all of the Christmas-themed ads that are already airing on TV. I didn't bother much with cleaning up the bits of the apartment that need work, and even though I read a few token pages, I didn't do much damage on the books I'm reading from last Friday's library outing. We ended the evening with an episode of the West Wing - we're five episodes from the end of the series - and then went to bed at a normal hour, which meant that I woke up feeling really good this morning.
If it's not too dark when I get home this afternoon (gotta' love Daylight Savings Time), I hope to go running, or at least to convince Matt to take a nice, long walk with me. I'm torn between sitting around at home again this evening (reading, knitting, and doing things I enjoy...all the while feeling a little lazy for just sitting around), finding the resolve to do some cleaning (necessary...but no fun!), or getting out of the house with Matt for a while. Maybe a Barnes & Noble date night or a just-for-fun trip to IKEA.
This is the nature of autumn for me. Part of me wants to hunker down and nest in anticipation of the coming cold weather, staying at home, engaging in cozy pursuits like knitting and baking, and bumming around the apartment in sweatpants and slippers instead of going out anywhere. But the other part of me wants to celebrate fall by bundling up and being outside, finding excuses to start window-shopping for Christmas, grabbing my camera and pretending to be an awesome scenic photographer, and just generally putting off hibernation until the weather really demands it.
I think I need to channel my college-aged self. Somehow in college, between homework and meetings, I used to be a master of free time and hanging out. I spent time with friends, watching movies. I sat around and talked for hours with friends, just talking. But I also took lots of walks. And did fun art projects, like decorating my windows with tissue paper snowflakes. I rearranged my dorm room to fit my mood, and I looked forward to meeting friends for coffee or ice cream or pizza bagels in the student center. There was plenty of sitting around, doing nothing. But it was always done in community, and not always in your own space. I think that's one of the things I miss the most about college: that there was always someplace else to go if you needed to get out of your room, but you never needed to do much else besides hang out once you got there. And life was lived in community.
These days, as a grown-up, I have to make my own community. I have to get out a calendar to plan movie nights with friends, or board game nights, or dinner nights. And I have to think harder about things like money and calories and gas money. And changing venues takes a little more intentionality.
But I can still strive to have more good conversations with friends and family than I do now, to play the piano more, to keep up with my library books, and to allow laundry to count as a perfectly valid way to spend a free hour or so.