Bloggin’ on bloggin’: Learning to enjoy the (little) free time you have

Time-management is hard. I never really understood the whole, “there aren’t enough hours in the day” thing until I got a full-time job with an hour commute. There are so many things I want to do, and just not enough time to do them. Even when I do have time to do things, usually all I want to do is sleep. It becomes really discouraging – there are lots of things I want to accomplish, and lots of hobbies I want to pursue, but I just can’t find the time to fit them into my day.

However, though it is a colossally shitty feeling, it’s also a very common one.

Specifically, I feel like the whole, “ew I’m an adult with a life” thing comes up a lot when it comes to fandoms, whether it be anime, video games, music, movies, whatever. You reach a certain point in your life when keeping up with all the trends just isn’t feasible anymore. Maybe you want to make fanart, maybe you want to run a successful blog, maybe you want to make a podcast, or maybe you just want to find the time to watch all of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Finding time is hard, and it can make you feel like the things you enjoy doing are slipping away, especially if you feel this constant need to keep up with everyone else.

sleepy.png
This is what I look like every time I try to keep up with a new season of anime…

There’s a constant fear of missing out, or falling behind and feeling like a “fake” member of a fandom or community. There are obviously issues with fandom elitism and gatekeeping. Other fans think they’re superior and don’t want casuals or newcomers joining in on the fun. I feel like this has been written about/talked about a lot already, so I won’t dwell on it too long. Even though we all know this is a thing that happens, and we all know that the people who gatekeep are all total jerks, it’s hard not to take it personally. Do I really belong in this fandom? Should I talk about this thing I like, if I don’t know every little thing about it? Have I earned my right to be here?

Even when you are super into one specific series or franchise, if you don’t have the time to create content that goes along with the fandom, it can feel like a real bummer. It can feel like you’re not involved or contributing enough. There are a bunch of articles I want to write and fanart I want to make, but I just don’t have time, and it’s suuuper disappointing. If you don’t have the time or energy to dive into something 100%, it can make you keep some of your interests closer to your chest.

I feel like our interests in anime/games/etc. can get downplayed easily, not just by others but by ourselves. Like, it’s easy to think, “why do I care so much about this if it’s just some TV shows?” Or, “why do I feel pressured to make content that isn’t even a main source of my income?” Sometimes I have to look inwardly and laugh a little bit – do I really feel that much anxiety over keeping up with my anime blog, or over keeping up with my shows?

killing bites im not sad.jpg
Who took this picture of me pretending not to notice my low blog stats???

But it makes sense to feel this way. I mean, if you’re like me, you’re working 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. I can squeeze in a little writing on my break or listen to some anime music as I type at my desk, but ultimately, that’s 40 HOURS A WEEK where I feel like I can’t be myself. Like, I’m not a real person for 40 hours a week. So, it honestly ends up feeling like I’m losing parts of myself when I can’t keep up with anime or writing or drawing or video editing. Now that I actually have the confidence/resources to pursue these things, I don’t have the time! It’s just the way it is, I suppose. And I know a lot of others who feel the same way.

Seeing other people constantly online live-tweeting shows or posting art and things like that can get to you. I tend to get jealous over younger people who can upload a bunch of articles or fanart or whatever multiple times a week. I want to be like that! I want to put out things that hundreds of people see every day!

Though, what we see is often scheduled content, giving the illusion that this person is constantly on top of their fandom shit. And these people are often more experienced, or have more free time, or are doing these things professionally. Their situation is probably way different than ours, so we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves tot them. Heck, maybe they’re getting bogged down by doing too much, just like some of us feel bogged down by doing (what we perceive as being) too little. We always think the grass is greener, you know?

kyon.jpg

What I’m getting at here is this: don’t beat yourself up for not having the time to be this big expert on every one of your interests. Don’t beat yourself up for not having mastered a hobby or a craft.

I mean, yeah, I just said that I beat myself up over this stuff all the time, but ultimately, I’m learning to be more comfortable with my own pace. Instead of trying to impress other people with your hobbies or your interests, just work on impressing yourself. Don’t watch an entire series because someone said you had to and you wanted to feel in the loop – watch it because you wanted to watch it! Don’t write because you want to keep a schedule or get good stats – write because you want to!

If you feel like you’re on a constant time crunch, don’t take it out on yourself. Relax, enjoy the time you have to do the things you love, and embrace the feelings you get out of it. I might only have five hours or so at the end of the weekday to do the things I enjoy, so I need to make the most out of it, not worry that I’m doing the wrong thing! Time enjoyed is never, ever time wasted. If you’re enjoying watching some goofy harem from the 2000s, enjoy your goofy harem from the 2000s…don’t try to force yourself into watching eight seasonals you don’t even like that much. Once you get into the habit of just doing you at your own pace, you’ll find yourself feeling a lot more comfortable and enjoying things a lot more. Sometimes, that comfort ends up giving way into having more time and being more productive, too…

c847d34c592e20_full.jpg
(I lost all my screencaps when my laptop died, so enjoy these googled fansub screencaps)

Remember, we’re all here for fun and online camaraderie. You don’t have to prove yourself or anything in this vast online realm, and you definitely don’t have to pressure yourself, either. It’s not about views or impressing hundreds of other people (although those things are certainly nice…), it’s just about taking time to be your you-est you by kicking back and enjoying the shit you enjoy.

Advertisements

29 thoughts on “Bloggin’ on bloggin’: Learning to enjoy the (little) free time you have

  1. “Be your you-est you.” – We need this on a T-shirt.
    Outside of that, you are right. It is really hard balancing a full time job and still making time for a hobby. For me, I find it works well as I relax in the morning by working on anime related things so I go to work normally fairly happy. When I come home, I normally have an hour or two where I watch stuff to unwind from the day. I try and do the bulk of my writing over weekends, though episode reviews need to get written during the week. But it is about finding a routine that works for the individual and there are always going to be days where the hobby has to get put on hold because of work or exhaustion. I’m told that about being responsible but that usually just makes me want to stick my tongue out at the person who said it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. yeah, I used to try to force myself to watch/write after work every day but just couldn’t keep up. Sometimes, I’m just not even in the mood to watch anime or play games, even though those are kinda My Things. But now I just do what I do when I can do them and I feel much better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Definitely know what you mean by our hobbies and interests being downplayed by others. A friend judged me for liking anime and being so invested in it. Me spending money on my hobbies to her was just me being a slave to capitalism. She didn’t understand the idea of online friends being real friends.

    I don’t work as much but it was a struggle for sure to post when I had school. But know that all your work is being appreciated so much by us! Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahhh yes the “online friends aren’t real friends” issue. I forgot about that weird stigma. School is tough, and I always found it hard to motivate at school, too. Also thank you so much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This post has came at the perfect time for me seeing as I’ve just started a new job and definitely get that sense of not being able to be into my interests while working and the anxiety of losing a sense of self while at work. Thank you for this post and for what it’s worth, I always look forward to your posts you’re one of my consistently favourite bloggers!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad it meant something to you, I kinda wish I had thought these thoughts when *I* started working full-time, haha. And thank you so much!! That means a lot to me!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh man, I’m surrounded by people offline who downplay my hobby XD. They don’t mean any harm by it, but when I enjoy writing on whatever I write. it’s difficult not to take it personally when someone comment on me when writing as doing nothing important. At the same time, I also downplay their hobby of following sports since that’s foreign to me. So, sometimes it’s a fun jab, and other times they think nothing of my hobby. I try not to let it bother me to much.

    Having a full time job consumes you like no other evil force can. I’m currently in that position, and still working out how to balance my time with everything I do. It wavers between me enjoying myself, and me being absolutely exhausted to do anything when I get home. When it gets to much, I gotta call blogging off, and enjoy myself for the day. Or, I could just invent a time machine, visit my future self, and tell him to give everything he has ever written so I can relax even more in the present hahaha.

    Always appreciate the post you (and other bloggers I follow) take the time to make out of their free times. Gives me something to read during my breaks at work, stump at what to do, or just for enjoyment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hmm, yeah everyone at my office is SUPER into sports, like my supervisor wears Eagles outfits every day to work, and I’m like, hmm that’s weird and then remember that I sit around & write anime essays for fun so I can’t really judge 😂

      It sucks though because I like my job (mostly) but I’m always like…damn, I wish I was writing instead…..but it’s true, reading other people’s work helps me connect back. I listen to people’s podcasts while I work & it lets me keep a sliver of hobby in my work day haha.

      And thank you! I might not have commented because I was at work sneaking a read in, but I’ve definitely read some of your reviews in-cubicle haha

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Totally agree. I’m in a weird grey-zone where I just left my job, have some time to kill before my new one starts in August so I HAVE time to get ‘in the loop’ but I’m not sure I want to. Like I want to one day watch ‘Rose of Versailles’ but I find myself watching Law and Order:SVU while attempting to proof-read my articles and double check spelling (mixed results). There’s a balance in there somewhere I think, probably with me using all my data watching anime on my former commute. lol

    Doing things at your own pace is always better then trying to sprint with the younger crowds (god I feel old saying that). But for me, having some sort of fixed schedule for at least one piece of content (mine’s girls rock in Japan despite not a lot of views on that) per week as an anchor to blogging.

    It’s always re-asssuring to see these types of posts on other people’s blogs as a reminder that we’re humans not robots.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, when I first started blogging & writing I had just graduated & didn’t have a full time job yet, so I was watching & writing like crazy! But even then, I was pushing a little too hard…

      I definitely try to keep to themes & goals (try being the key word here) but lately I’ve learned to just do what I can. Specifically I’ve learned not to do big episodic reviews – they pain me lol it bums me out because the concept of being, like, a professional reviewer is very alluring & so I convince myself that I have to stay up on the times but….it’s just not happening because I want to have fun & also take a nap haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel that, I was in a sort of lull at my job when I started and now I’m trying so hard to keep the content flowing!

        I agree about goals though. It’s a lot easier to have a few goals and themes rather then chase the latest content. And the struggle between a good nap and writing is always a critical balance with me too lol

        Like

  6. Very nicely written…as always.
    But of course, the only reason I agree is because I delay my posts all the time due to procrastination hohoho~…w-wait, I can explain, put the pitchforks dow-

    Liked by 2 people

    1. HAHA that’s okay, I wrote this a while back and had it scheduled and I’m now realizing I need to actually write something else again because my backlog is gone…

      but also thank you! as always 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Finding thsoe moments of free time are definitely important. They help you stop burning out, not only with blogging, but with real life. I’m in an odd place at the moent where i’m no longer full time employed so have been filling my days with writing. I want to hit a point where I can make at least a part time living off this stuff, so I’ve been slamming through as much as I can in terms of blogging. Which essentially means that the icnreased free time I would have had has pretty much gone. I really need to rebalance that a little.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well said in this post. I’m terrible for when I haven’t posted anything on my blog for a week haha such a weird thing you build up when you start a blog. I’ve learnt over time to take me time seriously. Glad we have the schedule option because that takes a lot of pressure off too haha. Everything you wrote here is so true and couldn’t have said it better. If you ask me you do very well keeping up with your blog Jen. Deserve credit for that 😀

    Like

  9. Jennifer,

    This was absoutely the thing I needed to read. Its also something that has heavily resonated with me in the last montbs. Much like you, I was certainly in a rut of hobbies where I could not derive nearly as much enjoyment from anime or games. On the games side, my perfectionist side prevented me from enjoying the ride without worrying about limit break this, side quest that. With anime, I was much too concerned with finding only the best of the best titles that would be up there with my favorites such as Eupho or Aria or K-On.

    Even when it came to my time on social media, I could not deny the envy I felt towards all the anitweeters who raved about the latest episode of Violet Evergarden and the like.

    It all pushed me down, made me feel like my time with the hobbies was over. Even in my job, I started to feel the toll of not having that little escapism that free time can bring.

    But it was not until a couple weeks ago when I decided to do something different that everything changed. I remembered a suggestion an acquaintance of mine told me that could help break the ice between people and I: play an mmo. And thats what I did. Without looking up much info as I usually do, I decided to play Final Fantasy 14. And wow its been some of the best time with a hobby in years. Rather than focusing on maxing everything, I went along with what you talked about here. I just explore the game world, not worrying about guides and where to get the red mage or samurai class. Not worrying about how long the game will be or if I will beat ot before the paid subscription begins. Not being anxious about finding the right players. Instead, I just went with the flow. And I have met some great players. I am on my way to getting that red mage. Because I am taking the game one step at a time. We cant conquer it all at once after all. Even jn my job im in a much happier place now.

    Anyway I rambled enough. I really enjoyed reading this article of yours. Telling you all the above was pretty much my way of saying I understand what it feels like. But I also gotta thank you. I never really though anyone understood this whole dillemma. I am so happy that you were willing to share this story with us.

    And also, I am so proud of you for finally taking the step to make those blog entries. I may have been late on my promise to be commenter. But here I am. Amazing job…Ms. Holograms 😉

    Tl;Dr: I definitely relate to your story from my past months. I was able to overcome it myself slowly with a blind play of FF14, which is usually against my past style. I thank you so much for sharing the story and also understanding this problem with enjoying free time and hobbies. And I am so proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He returns!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for reading/your kind words 🙂 I had to take a bit of a break and felt really down about it because I felt like I was falling behind on all the stuff that makes me, you know, me. And social media definitely makes it especially rough because it makes it seem like everyone is having a better time than you/on top of everything…it definitely gives me a bit of a complex sometimes, lmao.

      So I’m really glad that that’s relatable (I mean, not glad that other people have a hard time lol, just glad that I’m not alone), so it’s nice to hear that it’s relatable, and especially nice to hear that maybe I helped ease those feelings a little. Thanks for taking the time to comment & I hope to hear from you again soon, my friend 🙂

      Like

      1. “He returns!”? Not really sure what who or what you are referring to. Do you know who I am from the past or?

        But yeah, that cycle of feeling like you should keep up/feeling like you are failing in your hobbies is a very powerful thing that can conquer all of us. To this day, I still remember the one thing one of my managers told me about ruts. That we always have the power at anytime, anyday to not think we are. And that even if there are going to be rougher days in our time in a pattern of repitition, that we just embrace it and take it in stride for tomorrow. Vary up each day with the smallest of things, like with my blind play of a game. Or switching departments. Or even small things like trying to…write… a letter to someone important in spite of procrastination (*cries in the corner*). All these little things can help us get through those times our free time is not accesible and set a good standard for how we can further enjoy the times off when they come.

        And of course (about to go into anime protag mode here), never forget that you are not alone! Even when physical and figurative barriers bar you from seeing the ones you truly care about, as long as that connection is still felt, they will always be by your side, encouraging you through your memories of them.

        I will definitely tell as many acquaintances about your blog. You have so much potential. Keep holding onto this passion of yours!

        Always keep moving forward, @lesbibearstorm

        -someone

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I just want to thank you for the words that ring truer every day of every year. It seems like time keeps slipping me by and i yearn for simpler times when i had all day to goof off and then some. You have a great way with words and it easily resonated with those times im tired from a full days work or school projects. I’m trying my best now a days to manage time better, despite the adult world forcing me to keep doing the boring day to day chores of life.

    All in all thank you again for your strong words. They touched on a subject we always think about but tend to keep in the back of our minds. I look forward to seeing more of your posts and creative process. Thank you for all your hard work. The world needs more people such as yourself. Wishing you all the best…..some guy lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are too nice, I’m just a gal who writes words sometimes. It means a lot to hear that it’s relatable & that my words mean something, though, so thank you for all the positivity. You know, man, I’m glad that there are people like you out here supporting people hardcore like this. I hope everything goes well & that you have time to relax & anime more soon 🙂

      Like

  11. ohhhh yea i get this feeling a lot. After entering college and doing internships and the runaround, it seems like there isnt even enough time to sleep =3=. At the same time tho i think it can inadvertently prevent total burnout on franchises and the like; sometimes when i used to have a lot of free time, id binge watch something and just not be able to look at it for months (rip 2000s shounen/battle manga). Good read overall tho, a friend sent me ;p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that’s a good point, now that I have less time to watch stuff I’m a lot more picky so I feel like I waste less time on shitty franchises now? it’s like, my time is precious so I’m not going for any three star stuff…haha

      Like

  12. Ah, I loved reading this. The office desk job grind is quite a taxing one. Thank you so much for your sage words of wisdom 🙏

    Also, I’m sorry I’m so behind on your stuff! I’m trying to catch up before I have to go to work in an hour, but I most definitely will have to save the rest for after work.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s