In the days since, this question has come back to me again and again, mostly because I keep thinking of other things I love to do besides reading and wondering why I couldn't think of them at the time. (I also think it's funny that one of the things I did think of is actually something I rarely (maybe never?) do by myself: go on a walk. It's not a bad idea; I'd probably enjoy a walk by myself; but the truth is, I almost always go with someone else because I like having someone to talk to.)
So what would I do if I had time to myself and couldn't read? Even though I thought of more things, they're all still pretty boring. Turns out, I'm just a boring person. (It also turns out that many of them are still reading related, even if I'm not sitting down with a physical book. Big surprise right there.)
- Knit or crochet (while listening to an audiobook) - I learned how to knit earlier this year, and it has since become a favorite hobby. I'm currently making a vest for one of my boys (probably Bradley, but if it doesn't fit him, hopefully it will still fit someone!). The tactile feeling of the yarn and the rhythmic clicking of the needles make this a very relaxing, almost therapeutic, activity for me (and if I can listen to an audiobook at the same time, it's even better).
- Wander around a bookstore - I can't believe I forgot this one! One of my very favorite things to do is go to a bookstore and write down all the new titles I want to go check out from the library. I love the smell of bookstores (different from a library because all the books are new), and I love being surrounded by shiny, gorgeous books.
- Work on blog posts - If I'm being honest, this is probably how I spend almost all of my available free time. I always have so many ideas bouncing around in my brain, and I love being able to get some of them written down (so that I can use that opened up brain space to think about more posts).
- Clean - I'm not even kidding. I love cleaning my house if my kids are away and won't immediately undo my work (if they're home though, I basically feel the opposite because it seems so pointless). It's energizing to use my hands to bring order to a space. (Also, this is another great activity to do while listening to an audiobook.)
- Fold laundry - see above
- Take a nap - I've probably taken a nap a total of two times this year, but come January, our church schedule is switching back to 9:00am (we've been on the 1:00-4:00 schedule), so you can bet I'm soon going to be taking a nap every Sunday afternoon.
- Reserve books at the library - one of my favorite nighttime activities is to go through book lists and blog posts and award lists and max out my library card with holds (and sometimes Mike's and Aaron's cards, too).
- Go to the library - I often go there to write a blog post or just escape the kids for a half hour after Mike gets home.
- Read blog posts, scroll through instagram, waste time on the computer or my phone - Sometimes this is exactly the kind of break I need because it is almost completely mindless (that's not exactly a compliment, but you know what I mean).
- Write in my journal - this is part of my evening routine, which means that I always spend at least a few minutes writing at the end of the day. It feels so good to gather my thoughts and write.
- Work on a bigger project - this might be organizing some part of the house or sewing or crafting (right now it happens to be addressing Christmas cards). I don't always have something going, but when I do, it's nice to make some progress on it.
- Put together a puzzle - this happens more by accident than anything else. Usually my kids have out a puzzle, and I catch myself putting it together when I have a quiet minute.
- Write letters or thank yous - I like writing to my brother who is currently serving a mission or my grandma or just jotting down a quick card of thanks to a friend or acquaintance.
- Sit by myself in a quiet place and think - there it is. I wasn't lying when I said it before. I love being by myself and doing absolutely nothing.