“Challenge of managing free time”- 6 November 2013
Time was Sarika’s problem. She had plenty of it. She was a home-maker and very efficient. So, she often found herself without much to do after she would finish her work in the kitchen in the morning. Other women in the neighbourhood would still be busy when Sarika would be out on a round meeting friends. But how long could she do that every day? So, afterwards, back at home, she would collapse in a chair in front of the TV and watch senseless serials in a near-total boredom. She would, then, doze off for an hour or so before the kids returned from school. Evening were all right with the kids and husband, and she often pepped up. Yet, she dreaded mornings after everybody was packed off to work or school and the kitchen had been cleaned up.
Sarika is not alone in this category. A good number of home-makers face the drudgery of not having anything to do for much of the day after the work in the house has been finished. Television is one resort which they often turn to. Yet, most of them sit in front of the TV only because they have no alternative available. Life, in this fashion, can be an endless boredom.
Of course, loose talk and senseless banter with the women in the neighbourhood is one pastime. But that is one activity that starts getting on the nerves very soon.
By no standards can this bored home-makers face for years on end is not an issue that can be ignored easily. For, what these women face is not just the TV or friends, but something that eats them down — boredom whose drag is not easy to put up with.
I have found in my psychological practice of years that such women start becoming rather twitchy in the family and start poking their nose into everything around, which causes quite an embarrassment for them as well as for others.
Of course, reading is an alternative many suggest. But reading is not something whose liking one develops deep into adulthood. Love for reading has to be cultivated in childhood. If a woman has not picked up that habit as a child, she is quite less likely to do so when her children have started going to school. There may be some women who develop habit of reading and even writing for pleasure. But the number of such women is naturally very small.
Some women take to the arts and draw or paint or go out clicking away with their camera. Many take part in various social activities as well. Yet, the issue of having to tackle extra time at hand continues to occupy women’s attention.
Unfortunately, many women are not even aware that they possess some artistic or linguistic or literary talent. Therefore, they keep wasting their years in senseless watching of television or indulging in town gossip. And when that happens for years, the women start developing a low self-esteem, a damage that is not easy to tackle. And when self-esteem is damaged, women start resorting to more gossip and more watching of television even though they do not much interest in it. Their aim is to pass time and anything would do — from watching movies on TV to going to the neighbour’s house and indulge in loose talk.
But then, there are smart women as well. They try to identify what they want and then start making efforts to attain that goal. One of the most important and positive fall-outs of this is that their personalities get pepped up due to that pursuit. Once that effort begins, all of a sudden, life becomes a lot more meaningful.
This is the crux of the matter — making life more meaningful by trying to find out some meaningful activity. And since that is not an easy task, many women tend to turn away from it. But if women start helping one another on this count, all of them would be able to find out what they really want and what they can do best and then pursue it sincerely.
I know a woman who lost a lot of time not doing anything. Then her husband helped her to find what she could do the best and then pushed her to doing that. Today the contentment on her face is very evident even from a distance.
Yet another method is to look for an opportunity to make some money by using personal talent — like stitching or embroidery, for example. And another idea could be to look for a part-time job that would bring in some money as well as help the woman in a creative use of extra time at hand. Many women could contribute through doing social work. There are online jobs too which could bring in some amount of money and satisfaction. Opportunities have grown now.
The choice, of course, belongs to the individual woman. She has to take a call on what she wants most to do in her extra time. One thing is sure, however, that those women who find creative outlets to their energy in free time, often end up doing something very meaningful and adding value to their lives.