Tim Kreider’s piece for The New York Times being linked around like crazy, but it’s worth it because it’s that good:
I was a member of the latchkey generation and had three hours of totally unstructured, largely unsupervised time every afternoon, time I used to do everything from surfing the World Book Encyclopedia to making animated films to getting together with friends in the woods to chuck dirt clods directly into one another’s eyes, all of which provided me with important skills and insights that remain valuable to this day. Those free hours became the model for how I wanted to live the rest of my life.
The paragraph above nearly knocked me out of my chair because it so perfectly described not just my childhood — I’m eternally grateful to my parents for never forcing me into structured activities, but allowing my to follow my interests and discover things on my own — but also how I hope to live my life going forward — allowing unstructured time to explore, create, see friends, socialize. Free time. Less schedules more serendipity.
I don’t want to regret missing something magical because my schedule said I was too busy. He continues:
My own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue, but I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love. I suppose it’s possible I’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t work harder and say everything I had to say, but I think what I’ll really wish is that I could have one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too short to be busy.