Yesterday we talked about different artistic outlets to utilize enormous newfound chunks of time in your life. Today we’ll discuss some more ways to improve life without a steady income.
2. Read voraciously.
You knew this one was coming. There is an unfathomable wealth of knowledge in print and online to enrich, or at least entertain your brain. Before I make any specific recommendations, I’d say to focus on books that will make you think in a different way; books that will somehow advance your life. This does not limit you to non-fiction, as protagonists (and antagonists) in novels can inspire us, and help us access untapped emotions that we don’t normally encounter in the real world. Your friends usually aren’t finding dead bodies or solving murders while avenging the unjust death of loved ones. So read a book.
That being said, I’d recommend working on at least one non-fiction book at any given time. History books lay the groundwork and explanations of why we are where we are today. Read about marketing and figure out how to get yourself out to the masses. Inspirational tomes can help you appreciate and make the most of each day. You can also learn exciting new skills from books, like web design, foreign languages, or cooking.
I’ve decided to make a few recommendations in case you are stumped. And regarding the price of books…goto the library or find a cozy chair in Barnes & Noble until they kick you out. If your morals are lacking, buy a book, read it very gently, then return it for another one. I’m still waiting till the people at the check-out desk to say “This isn’t a library, Mr. Radvansky.”
The Spectrum of Consciousness by Ken Wilber. Can and will change the way you think about the universe. It is incredibly esoteric, and not meant to be read in 10-minute stints before bed. If you are very open-minded, and feel like tackling concepts like non-duality and the illusions of space and time, give it a go.
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. Speaks for itself. It is an entertaining and well-researched guide on gaining, maintaining, and exercising power over those around you. Each of the 48 laws is explained, and then affirmed using interesting and worthwhile historical anecdotes. Easy to tackle, one law at a time.
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. A true tale of 17th century adventure. It will remind you of the joys of swordplay, blind love, corrupt clergy, and just how vile a woman can be. If you like drinking large quantities of wine and brotherhood, look no further.
Delaying the Real World by Colleen Kinder. A practical and inspiring guide for living an exciting life immediately after graduating college. She discusses the reasons not to sell out to a job you won’t thoroughly enjoy, as there are a number of exciting, non-traditional jobs out there that you will enjoy. Can definitely change your outlook on “the next step.”
3a. Get in Shape
A worthless excuse (as all excuses are) for not exercising is lack of time. So now that you’ve got the time, get out there and do it. Forget about joining a gym for $30-$100/month , go outside and run. Find a tree you can do pull-ups on. Push-ups and sit-ups are free. Learn some yoga online, or just perform stretches you remember from high-school gym class. It’s also a great time to take up a new sport or activity. Dust off the tennis racquets and work on your forehand. Hit the basketball court before it gets too cold. And then when it does, hit the court with that nasty old Champion sweatshirt that can only be worn while exercising, and no one has to look at you for more than an hour. The great Stephen Baldwin is quoted: “There are all kind of theories about heart rate…but you know what? Just get your ass moving. That’s going to get you in shape.” Beautiful.
On top of the physical benefits, nothing can shake up your day and clear up your mind quite like running yourself into the ground for a half-hour. If you are too tired to breathe, you are probably too tired to think. Just where you want to be.
3b. Cook and Eat Healthy Meals
A recipe for ANYTHING is available online. Ethnic cuisine, vegetarian meals, and steak and potatoes recipes are all out there for you. Learn what allspice is made of. Steam your asparagus to keep the nutrients inside. Everyone has got to eat, you might as well enjoy making the food, eating something delicious, and having the piece of mind knowing that it’s good for you. Start Here for a healthy, delicious meal that requires only one pot and is quick and easy to clean up.
A perfect way to give back that is easily accessible in almost every community. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a volunteer group that you sign up for. Help someone in you neighborhood learn English. Go pick up trash on the beach or at a local soccer field. Along with those, there are a number of organizations out there that will happily place you in volunteer positions. Whether you are doing it to make the world a better place, for the ego boost and ability to tell people you are making the world a better place, to get some fresh air, or to network, there is no wrong reason to volunteer.
5. Teach Yourself a Pertinent (and Marketable) Skill
A good friend of mine was frustrated with a job, so he quit, got a bunch of books on web design, and recently developed Avaya.com. He devoted every day to learning how to design web sites, something he had a thorough interest in. Despite graduating with a Geology degree, he works full-time for a multi-million dollar web design firm. With the enormous amount of free information available online, you have no excuse not to teach yourself how to do something new.
Check out some podcasts. Coffee Break Spanish has an excellent podcast that will give you a rudimentary understanding of the language. iTunes has these podcasts for a plethora of languages. Learn the finer points of PhotoShop and turn your good photographs into masterpieces. Learn some Excel programs so when that promising job post says “Experience in Excel a must,” you’ve got the experience. Practice speed reading or card counting.
Check out some free online college courses so that you can obtain some of the knowledge that comes with advanced degrees without paying for them. Learn before you earn.
That’s enough for today. Tomorrow in the unemployment series, we’ll focus on two opposite ends of the spectrum: developing an internet presence, and traveling.