Every so often, I have more free time on my hands than usual. Maybe it is a long weekend or a vacation with shitty weather. On those days, I often get into a kind of weird limbo state. What do I do with those extra hours? Easy, you could say, just watch a movie or read some fiction. Unfortunately, I have a strong inner censor, which has some very clear-cut rules on what I should be spending my time on. The most important metric of my inner censor is usefulness. All things I do should be useful. At least this is what my censor thinks.

So, what does this censor see as useful? It seems that a thing is ok when it either improves myself or enhances my social life. Reading a book about history is ok, while watching a romcom is not. Playing computer on my own is off limits, while playing board games with friends it totally fine. The limbo state therefore arises when I do not have friends around I could do stuff with and my brain is too mushy or exhausted to process complex things. A typical situation for a long weekend.

This results in me trotting through the living room and being unsure what to do. This state can go on for hours, resulting in me wasting a perfectly fine Sunday evening by doing nothing in particular and feeling bad about it the whole time. Obviously, this is not the way I want it to be. The more hedonistic part of myself craves spending time on “useless” things as it helps myself to recharge and being able to do “useful” things in the future (even in this sentence the inner censor pleaded for replacing “spending” with “wasting”). But how to accomplish this? Right now, this often results in a kind of binge behaviour. After suppressing my desire to do things that are not too taxing on the deep thinking parts of my brain, I basically shut down, isolate myself and play computer or watch YouTube for several days straight. The intensity of this binge behaviour might be linked to the duration of my time free of relaxation, but it does not seem to be linear. A solution would be to find a way to convince my inner censor of the usefulness of doing “useless” things. However, he is not so easily convinced.

As of now, I did not really find a good solution for this problem. Even this post here results mainly from me trying to fill my current vacation with censor approved activities, as writing about him surely pleases him.

Motivation perplexes me. Usually I am kind of driven person: I read a lot, I listen to (history) Podcasts and watch (educational) videos without end and most of the time I even enjoy talking to people. But, where does the urge to do these things come from? And why does it vanish sometimes? When this happens, then the question arises: Why even do things? Why not just lay on the floor, only getting up to eat or sleep.

I guess this is somewhat linked to my inability to really chill. As my inner censor has a stern opinion about the usefulness of things, I am often only motivated to do those useful things. However, this runs into a kind of a trap when there is nothing to do that myself/personality/censor deems as sufficiently useful. For example, when I have a stretch at work where I am unsure about the usefulness of the work that I am doing, my censor registers that as not doing enough useful things. Still, working is exhausting. So, when I get home from a day of working on things that might not be useful, I run into a problem. I am too spend to do things that would be registered as useful, but my censor demands useful things to be done, as otherwise the daily amount of useful things is not reached.