Weekend Update: Make the Most of Your Work-Free Days
By our count there are 55 hours in a weekend (beginning at 5 p.m. Friday until midnight on Sunday). But are you really maximizing that time? Hardly. Explore new possibilities for weekend revelry. Take this as your personal challenge to reclaim your work-free or class-free hours, shake up your routine, and enrich your life in fresh ways.
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Go on a photographic scavenger hunt. Pull out a map of your state and pinpoint your home on the map. Then draw a circle that defines a 60-mile radius from your residence. Mark an “X” on every park or recreation area within an hour’s drive of your dorm or apartment. Spend a day visiting parks in search of photographs that capture interesting or beautiful shots of nature. Need guidance on the best techniques for capturing the great outdoors? Check out John Shaw’s Nature Photography Field Guide. At day’s end, review your work and select a handful of shots to blow up and display in your place.
If your energy reserves are low, perhaps it’s time you reserved an entire weekend for renewal. Clear your schedule of all errands and social activities, and spend a day in rest and reflection. Create a schedule that includes periods of silence — meaning no TV, music, or cell phones — and fill the time with prayer, journaling, Bible study, reading, and even napping. What activities most connect you to God? Do the things that genuinely renew your spirit.
It’s time to seek new experiences in the place you call home. Be a tourist in your own town. Visit unique museums in your area. Look for interesting businesses that offer free tours (such as ice cream factories and tea companies) and throw them into the mix. Or search your city’s listings for cultural festivals, plays, and other events that you don’t normally attend. Fully engage in whatever festivities you choose.
Take a weekend to blitz that non-Lit class-related novel you’ve been meaning to read. Invite a friend or two to join you for a relaxing weekend in the park or at a local coffee shop, simultaneously reading a book that interests you. When the final chapter is finished, celebrate by ordering pizza and sharing insights you’ve gained. Does your novel happen to be a major motion picture? Watch it while dining on your pie and discuss which version was better — the book or the film.
If you’re looking for some new clothes or room decor, help out your budget and the local economy. Avoid the mall this weekend, and scour yard sales, consignment shops, flea markets, and antique shops for unique goods. Then stop by the local farmer’s market to find supplies for a feast that you and your buds can prepare together. Cap the meal with a show and tell of all your great (and used-to-be-great) finds.
Expand the Horizons
Spend the weekend learning something new. Enlist a friend to join you for a workshop in a sport or activity you’ve never done before. Try rock climbing or Frisbee golf, or take those swimming lessons you never got around to.
Pocket Full of Posies
Take a weekend with your pals to really let yourselves be kids again. Fill the day with childlike activities — fly kites, swim in the lake, watch cartoons, and eat fresh-baked cookies. Play tag in a local park and hang out in the playground on the swings. Wind down the day by watching a movie like The Sandlot that celebrates the richness of being childlike.
Nothing refreshes the soul like serving another person in need. Use your weekend as a chance to get out of your comfort zone and serve in your community. To find out what opportunities are available in your area, ask your local missions pastor, or peruse a volunteer clearinghouse Web site like volunteermatch.org or serve.gov. Once you’ve selected a particular opportunity, invite friends and others at your church to join you for a day of giving back.
So reclaim your free time. Make it memorable. The young adult years can be stressful yet fleeting, so you might as well plan to have something to look forward to — and to look back on.
Michael D. Warden is an author and life coach living in Austin, Texas. For a peek at his latest adventures, check out michaelwarden.com.