5.04.2011

Getting to Know Free Time

Since beginning college in 2002, I have had very little free time.  During undergrad, I had 2, sometimes 3 jobs at a time in addition to going to school full-time.  Then I started law school right away and no need to harp on how much free time was lacking during that experience.  Then, the day I had always been dreaming of came:  Law School Graduation.  Finally a break! 

Well, not really.  See, they do some crazy stuff to you in law school, and one of those crazy things is to schedule the first day of your bar exam review course on the same day that you graduate from law school.  Well, I (and everyone else I know) skipped the first day of bar review to attend graduation.  Which meant that on the night of graduation, I was already one day behind on bar exam review.  Which further meant that I would not yet get that break I had been waiting for.  But finally, after studying for 3 months like it was a full-time job (along with working a part-time job) the bar exam came and it went.  And I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. 

Until October came and the buzz around town was that the bar results were in.  Holy shcnataldoodles, in the words of Macaulay Culkin:  "This is it, don't get scared."

 

After finding out that I passed the bar, all I could think of was:  no more books, no more note-cards, no more highlighters, no more studying.  Hallelujah, I was never taking another test again. 

After that ordeal, Alessandro and I began looking for places to live, moved in together and started planning our wedding, which kept me busy up until that special day, June 27, 2010.  (A re-cap of our Detroit Wedding deserves to be memorialized, so look for that post soon!)

After our honeymoon, we began living as an old new, married couple.  And I realized something:  I had a lot of free time on my hands.  What the heck was I supposed to do all day?  Without school or wedding planning, my routine after work began to look something like this:  make dinner, eat dinner, watch Seinfeld, bake something, go online, get ready for bed.  I was beginning to feel bored and kind of useless and honestly asked Alessandro, "Is this it?  Is this my life?  Is this all I'm supposed to do with myself?"  Luckily Alessandro knows how (stir) crazy I am, so he knew my dilemma had nothing to do with him, but just with my need to be doing something, anything!  It was not a surprise that after an intense 8 years of studying and working like crazy, I did not know what to do with myself when school was taken out of the picture.

I really wanted to do some volunteer work, and I found a great program to participate in at our church.  On the first Monday of every month, our church puts on a Homeless Meal.  Members and friends of the church bring dishes to serve, Bob, a very talented volunteer plays the guitar, and needy people from the community sit down and enjoy a nice meal.

Although it is only one day a month, doing this volunteer work really has made me so much happier!  I know that I have time to spare, so it feels good to give it.  It feels good to know that I can take time out of my day to make another person's day a little nicer.  And I have met so many great people!  The people I work with are so friendly and enjoyable to be around.  The homeless and needy people that come to the church for the event are so grateful to have a good meal, a warm place to eat it and to be treated nicely by their fellow community members.  How can one not feel good being a part of that? 

That reminds me of the Friends episode where Phoebe wants to do something good for someone without it making her feel good, but she has a really hard time finding something charitable to do that doesn't make her feel good at the same time.  (Someone help me out with how that episode ends).

Anyway, the point is:  if you have a couple of hours a month to spare, if you feel like you're watching too much TV or spending too much time surfing the internet, and if you would like to help people in your community who are less fortunate than you are, then get out there and volunteer your time!  There really is nothing like it.

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