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July 25, 2011 3:33 AM   Subscribe

Unemployed, enough money, three months to kill. What should I do?

For the first time in 20 years I find myself unemployed having just been made redundant. Luckily I had fair warning and have been able to make plans with new work beginning in November and have some savings and redundancy pay to see me through. I've a few projects on the go to keep me occupied but I'd like to enjoy this small window of commitment-free, workless opportunity. I've always worked and rarely taken holidays and now I'm faced with three months with absolutely no obligations. There's not enough money in the kitty to travel the world but what can I do with this rare window in life's rat-race and nose-to-the grindstone existence.

Suggestions as to self improvement, snatches of happiness, unwinding etc most welcome.
posted by R.Stornoway to Society & Culture (19 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Forget all about that macho shit and learn how to play guitar.
posted by jwhite1979 at 3:37 AM on July 25, 2011 [4 favorites]

Do a long-distance walk. I did the West Highland Way when I had a similar opportunity and still think back fondly to the experience. Takes about a week. Coast-to-Coast takes two weeks. There are services available to book your accommodation and even move your bag so you can travel light and carefree.
posted by sagwalla at 3:38 AM on July 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

I would second "long distance walk". If you do one overseas then you could combine it would learning the local language. In 3 months you could travel an impressive distance and master a few idiomatic expressions about blisters.
posted by rongorongo at 3:41 AM on July 25, 2011

Spend six weeks renting a cheap room in a beautiful city you've always fancied visiting and just roam the s**t out of the place. Sublets are often easy to come by.
posted by freya_lamb at 3:47 AM on July 25, 2011 [6 favorites]

Read all the unread books in your bookshelf.
posted by tel3path at 4:03 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Spend the time phasing out the idea that time needs to be killed.
posted by fairmettle at 4:06 AM on July 25, 2011

Write a novel.
posted by zanni at 4:07 AM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Well if you like working and you're at a loose end you could try setting up small businesses 4-hour working week style.

Nice to have a little earner on the side right?
posted by Not Supplied at 4:14 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

anything you've ever thought about doing 'someday' in the indefinite future. Watch classic films, learn to grill, study a language, start that project, visit that place in your neighborhood...
posted by everyday_naturalist at 4:38 AM on July 25, 2011

I took three months off a few years ago, it was a great reset for my brain.

Travel. You can do it on the cheap with a little research. Lots of interesting places to visit. You can even just do it in your own town. Find out of the way coffee shops, museums, bars, or restaurants to visit.

Read. Catch up on some of those books you've always wanted to get around to reading.

Code. I wrote a small embedded microkernel OS. But I'm kinda 'off' that way.

Clean. I went through my books and sold those that didn't have any sentimental value and I knew I would never read again. It was a lot. I also organized drawers and closets. I didn't do this because I wanted to, but because I knew I would be moving in less than a year.

Music. I play guitar and flute and spent time learning some tunes I always wanted to learn.

Exercise. Go for walks, a bike ride, or the gym.
posted by beowulf573 at 5:23 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hey, I just got made redundant in March and had a few months to kill before my uni course started (a week ago). I think it's the best three months for my mental health I've enjoyed this century. Stay at home, man, don't go anywhere. And don't think you require improvement!

I enjoyed cooking odd meals I wouldn't have been bothered to cook otherwise, motorbike rides or two in the National Parks around my city when they're deserted during work days, I know I've quite enjoyed reading lots of novels (which I rarely do, I'm more a non-fiction reader) and playing computer games (which I almost never do when I'm busy working or studying). It's been wonderful. Everyone should do it. Australians even have a term for it.

I know there are people who'll tell you to use your time to volunteer for people less fortunate than you, but three months? I reckon: piss it away, and don't regret any of it.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:32 AM on July 25, 2011

posted by litnerd at 6:41 AM on July 25, 2011

If you're like me, you'll be disappointed with yourself if the 3 months has gone by and you haven't done anything meaningful with the time.

So walk, or travel, or read, or clean, or studiously do nothing ... but don't accidentally do nothing.
posted by jragon at 7:15 AM on July 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Three months is enough time to really change your health. Since you can make your own schedule, you can make sure to exercise regularly, meditate, get lots of sleep, pay attention to what you eat and insure that it's delicious. You can be mindful of the little experiences that make up a day and get the most out of it. Take the opportunity to do something new as often as possible, from exploring a part of your environment to having a novel experience. Watch all those great movies you haven't seen yet, read those books you've heard about, immerse yourself in a tv show. Hone a skill.
Figure out what makes you happiest when left to your own devices.
posted by provoliminal at 7:26 AM on July 25, 2011

Read the Now Habit by Neil Fiore.

Don't set out to do everything. Don't feel like you have to do anything.

Make appointments now that you can't easily get out of, like buying plane tickets or reservations or plans to go somewhere with someone else.

I say this because I've done the three-months-waiting-for-my-job-to-start before, and right now I'm in the middle of a six-week vacation, and this is the advice I'd give myself four weeks ago.

Read the Now Habit by Neil Fiore.
posted by Busoni at 9:08 AM on July 25, 2011

Play the prequel to one of the big games released in November. Like Oblivion for Skyrim or the two Gears of War games for Gears of War 3.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:51 PM on July 25, 2011

Travel (go to Ireland, Spain or a small town in Italy), try ethnic food, go meet the locals at different cities, volunteer, pick an author and read his/her books, learn about a subject (cooking healthier, interior decorating, architecture, classical music, Shakespeare, global warming, recycling, etc), become a foodie, attend speaking events at local universities, go see plays, attend concerts, paint your room/place, fix the broken hinges, already!
posted by icollectpurses at 11:02 PM on July 25, 2011

Echoing freya_lamb, go live someone where you don't really speak the language and pick up as much of it as you can. Daunting, but awesome.
posted by litleozy at 6:02 AM on July 26, 2011

Thanks all, much to do and consider!
posted by R.Stornoway at 7:16 AM on July 26, 2011

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