The simple, thoughtless answer is Netflix. There are thousands of hours of movies and TV shows I could catch up on. But what a waste of time. After all, we get a finite number of hours in our lives and, though there's nothing wrong with taking some time to just relax and enjoy some mindless fun, there are so many things we could choose to do that fill up the hours more meaningfully and productively than that. Here are just a few:
- Put a dent in that pile of books. If you're like me, you buy books way faster than you can read them. Just in the immediate vicinity of my desk, I count 14 books I've bought with the intention of reading. And that's not counting the ones on the Kindle app on my phone. I don't even want to know how many of those there are. If you read blogs like mine, I bet you're in a similar situation. So put down the remote and see how many books you can read instead of seeing how many entire seasons you can watch.
- Review those books. Especially if you read books like mine by local or independent authors, it's so important that you take the time to review those books you read. Review them on Amazon. Review them on Goodreads. Talk them up on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and the thousand other social media outlets you use that I've probably never heard of. Good, thoughtful, real reviews are the life blood of sales for tiny little authors like me.
- Catch up on correspondence. Sitting down and actually writing letters may seem quaint, but I know I still enjoy getting real mail from actual human beings instead of the steady stream of recycle I usually receive. But if you can't even find paper and pen in your house, then consider the next best thing--email. It's hard to believe that this form of communication is seen by many as just as outmoded as snail mail. But there's just something about someone taking the time to sit down and write a letter telling a loved one about what's going on in your life. It says you're important to me. I want to let you in on some truly intimate issues in my life. I wish you were here to share in them.
- Think about someone else. Check in on your neighbors. If your back can handle it, shovel their walk, especially if they're older or have trouble getting about. Make them some soup or cookies or whatever you're good at. Call all your friends and family and make sure they're okay. Let them know you're thinking about them. It matters.
As I wrote this, I thought of a bunch more things, so I'll just list them: exercise, clean your house, organize that closet you've been putting off, build a snowman, go sledding, play board games with whoever you're stranded with, write a poem or a short story or a letter to the editor, and try one or two of the thousand recipes you've pinned but never actually used.
And when you've finished all those things, then fine, you can watch season 4 of Longmire on Netflix.