How do you pass time on a weeknight?
July 12, 2005 4:47 AM   Subscribe

You're married or single, have no kids, hold a regular job and are out of school. So what do you do in the evenings after work?

I'm not looking for a new hobby per se, just trying to figure out what my peers spend their time on after the work day is done. These post work evenings of nothing to do but fiddle around with one of too many hobbies, zone out infront of the TV, and end up drinking a bit too much are starting to get to me. I'm interested in learning how common this is and what folks do to combat it.
posted by robocop is bleeding to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (59 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I seem to spend a lot of time on MetaFilter, especially here on the green. :-/
posted by grouse at 4:49 AM on July 12, 2005 [1 favorite]

For the "how common this is" side of things - typical evening activities include: too much television, web surfing, reading, video games (more for my husband than for me), general housekeeping, dog-walking, errands. We're 26 and 28, for reference, even though I just made us sound old.
posted by ferociouskitty at 4:57 AM on July 12, 2005

Books, books, books (not the web!). And long walks and bike rides are good too. I've found it best to stringently eliminate the evening activities that make you feel gross and bad, e.g., TV, drinking, web-surfing, etc. in favor of activities that make you feel nourished, like reading great books, cooking elaborate meals, and so on.

Also, invite people over for dinner rather than meeting them out. Entertaining gives you a whole new set of things to think about and do at home.
posted by josh at 5:01 AM on July 12, 2005 [3 favorites]

Go for bike rides, walk the dog, volunteer.
posted by k8t at 5:13 AM on July 12, 2005

ferocious kitty, 28 and 30 here, and we roll the same way, sans dog. We look at each other sometimes and wonder "How did we get so... docile?" And it usually comes out that we're just so darned happy to hang out with each other that the locations don't matter as much anymore. Having said that, we make concerted efforts now to "be" adventurous, have Saturday driving trips, impromptu excursions to the (50 miles away) beach at sunset, that kind of thing. Also, we try to gauge TV Time now. Sounds funny, and I don't want to invite any of the "I don't have a TV! Harumph!" elitists, but it really becomes too easy to become engrossed in a story for 2 hours -- we are all social creatures after all -- and lose the majority of your evening. Nothing wrong with a movie, per se, but balance, ah, that's the key.. and that's what we're striving for every day.

Having said all that, I got caught by a West Wing marathon on Bravo last night and pretty much did none of the above. Fnord.

Sorry I had no magic hobbies to offer ;)
posted by cavalier at 5:20 AM on July 12, 2005 [1 favorite]

Oh, that West Wing is evil.

I'm early 30s and single. It's tougher when you're single 'cause you don't have that 'hanging-out' person, per above. But I don't get bored.

My solo evenings include: working out; going to the beach to read and watch waves; strolling downtown and people-watching; bookstore browsing; playing music; cooking good food; housekeeping chores; growing an herb garden; writing; web surfing; arty/crafty projects.

Evenings in company include: bluegrass and old time jams; going out to hear live music or see a film; dinners at people
s houses; drinks or dinner out; and attending events, things like festivals, fairs, fireworks.

I don't understand what might be wrong with "too many hobbies". Too many hobbies is, for me, a key to staying interested in the world. Are your hobbies isolating?
posted by Miko at 5:26 AM on July 12, 2005 [1 favorite]

Gaming, together. Some television, but not a lot at all (we DVR most anything we want to watch anyway). Home improvement. We go to trivia once a week with "The Atlanta Bloggers' Guild" (which is a pompous way to say "these people who live in the area and blog, but by no means all of them"). Our parentals live not far, so we see them fairly often (mine more than his as mine are twice as close). We have our friends over randomly. We cook. We see movies on some weeknights, but not uber-often (more in the big movie times, like around Christmas). We read, but we both tend to have books to read at work during lunchtimes, or else we fiend off and read for hours on end. The reading is a little all-consuming for us.

Um. I have no magic hobbies to offer, either. We're 25 and 33, by the way. The home improvement front is huge right now, but that comes and goes. We're thinking about getting bikes.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:32 AM on July 12, 2005

25 and 33. Video games and online communities (Metafilter, a few other sites). Family Guy is the beginning and end of our television. We pretty much eschew movies, bars, social activities. Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays are spent in front of our computers or at family functions maybe once a month, since we're close to both our families. We're going to do some hiking come August and earlier September, but that's really about it. It's a good life.
posted by Ryvar at 6:03 AM on July 12, 2005

My evenings alternate between playing video games and knitting and going out to concerts (on those nights, I get my knitting done while I'm at the concert - I'm betting I'm the only person who has ever knit through the Supersuckers Big Show).
posted by jacquilynne at 6:03 AM on July 12, 2005

I agree, Monday West Wing marathons are like crack.

When I was married, I went to the gym, then cooked dinner, watched tv, and fell asleep. Every. Damn. Night.

Now that I'm single, I go for a run (outside), then go home and read or do crossword puzzles, talk on the phone with my friends, take care of personal business (bills, errands, etc), make dinner, answer emails, straighten up. On social nights, I go over friends' houses for dinner, go out for drinks, see movies, or host poker night.
posted by superkim at 6:03 AM on July 12, 2005 [1 favorite]

We spend a lot of time cooking dinner at home. Really preparing good food from scratch takes time and is something we both like. We go for walks in the area and bring our cameras, sometimes grab a daily newspaper. We've both gotten more into birdwatching and so feeder maintenance and bird book consultation have become a small side project. The town pool is open now and sometimes we go swimming there. Greg always goes for a short bike ride after work. Sometimes we do house maintenance stuff like food shopping, laundry, tidying up, fixing things, listening to music while we do a lot of that stuff.

A few times a week we'll get a movie or try to go out and do something but the good local theater is about a 45 minute drive and live music is further so we make these trips into big events usually and try to see people and/or go out to dinner at the same time. We have almost no close friends in the area we live in, so incidental personal contact just by getting outside and saying hi to the neighbors is important, as is chatting with friends online. A lot of times we've both got books we're sort of deep in to so we often taper off the evening reading.

That said, it's pretty easy to check your email and sort of "come to" 90 minutes later after getting sucked in to your newsreader, or turn on the Daily Show and then realize you're sitting through the next, or next-to-next show after it. A lot of it really depends on how tired we are. If we're exhausted we'll allow for more space-out time but if we've got energy we'll try to do something that involves not sitting around, as much as we love to sit around. 29 and 36 here.
posted by jessamyn at 6:07 AM on July 12, 2005

Run, dinner, reading, chores, bed. It's pretty routine, too routine. I try to avoid TV, but sometimes watch it. Sometimes I go out for a walk. Often I find that if I delay getting home for a little bit after work, by going to a meeting or something, my evening seems longer and fuller.

I think josh, as usual, makes good points.
posted by OmieWise at 6:09 AM on July 12, 2005

jessamyn writes "That said, it's pretty easy to check your email and sort of 'come to' 90 minutes later after getting sucked in to your newsreader, or turn on the Daily Show and then realize you're sitting through the next, or next-to-next show after it."

After reading this I realized that this is the thing that I am most working on changing. I'm trying to make the things I do very conscious, evenings and weekends. Web/tv are devices that can suck me in and leave me feeling as if I've wasted time. So, I've begun to really try to limit those things and to be very aware of what I'm getting into when I do do them.
posted by OmieWise at 6:14 AM on July 12, 2005

You people live fascinating lives.

posted by glenwood at 6:17 AM on July 12, 2005

my solution (partly chosen, partly forced on me, but a good one, in practice) has been to work shifts where i do 8 days of 10 hours a week. on a working day, after 10 hours working i'm pretty much ready for bed after cooking + eating dinner, especially if i'm getting up early next day to go running. if i have any free time, i read a book or the lrb.

on my non-working days (6 in a row every two weeks), i either fix the house up, do stuff with my partner, or work on software projects (currently designing and implementing a little programming language, for example).

i hate tv - never watch it.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:17 AM on July 12, 2005

Netflix! Aside from that, I often go running after work. Great tension reliever. Also cooking, chores, read, play with cat. Dizzyingly glamorous, innit?
posted by scratch at 6:20 AM on July 12, 2005

I'm 26, he's 35. Gaming, tv, movies and him listening to me dreaming about doing something other than gaming, tv and movies.

Seriously. My SO is quite happy getting home, having beer and playing Battlefield online. Me I want to go OUT and DO THINGS and BE CREATIVE and HIP but if I have to be honest I more often get depressed about the fact that I'm not doing these things than that I make an effort do actually do them.

Let's form a club, shall we.
posted by Skyanth at 6:25 AM on July 12, 2005

I quit cable to keep myself from getting sucked into stupid TV that I don't even like. (I replaced it with Netflix, so I'm now happily engaging my latent film geek. Two or three hours of movie a night is a lot healthier for my brain than reruns.)

At home alone after work is taken up with cooking and reading and oftentimes the aforementioned movie. Sometimes I go out to dinner after work with friends. Sometimes there's an opening at a gallery. Sometimes I come home and relax for a little while before going out to see a band play (I have a lot of friends in bands/love live music.)
posted by desuetude at 6:28 AM on July 12, 2005

Whatever you do, just try to remember it real hard, 'cause you'll be nostalgic once you've got those kids...
posted by MattD at 6:30 AM on July 12, 2005

I read, do yard/garden work, cook, brush the cats, watch tv, and/or listen to music, or to baseball games now that it's summer. Also some chores like laundry. Right now the bathroom has just been painted and I have the happy task of deciding how to further decorate it. I used to spend a lot more time online, but once I moved, and the computer was put downstairs in the basement, I'm usually only online during the weekends. (There you go -- if you're trying to watch less tv or do less internet, put the tv and computer in rooms that aren't very comfortable.) I don't go to movies much; I prefer rentals at home. I don't really like nightlife spots or clubs because they're too loud. Sometimes I go out with coworkers for beers, or to a friend's house for dinner. In the warm weather I like to make sloe gin fizzes. I should add that I very much enjoy watching tv and don't really think of it as a time-suck.

I used to be more of a joiner -- community theater, church choir, vestry, etc. -- but now I much prefer to be home and despise meetings of any kind.
posted by JanetLand at 6:32 AM on July 12, 2005

Response by poster: Are your hobbies isolating?

Yeah, kinda. I'm a recovering/relapsing geek who has spent a whole bucket of money on various RPGs, miniatures, and card games. Problem is most of my friends are more recovering than relapsing geeks so it's hard to get any use out of them. I mean, it's well and good to spend an evening working on converting and painting a Blood Dragon knight, but at the end of the day I don't have anyone to share it with (well, I'm married and all, so I do have someone to share it with, but it's a different kind of appreciation - "That looks nice" vs "Hah! You put a Strigoi head on his pike!"). As for other past geekery I have laying about, most of it is out of date thus requiring a reinvestment into a hobby I got out of once or twice before.

I played darts in a league for awhile before the team folded, read constantly, and have had a few vaguely successful cooking attempts lately. Reading is kinda isolating (and can lead to just as much booze as TV), darts is great if you 1) have a place to play nearby and 2) decent people to play with, and cooking can keep me busy up till dinner time.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:32 AM on July 12, 2005

Skyanth -- we have a club. We meet online to put bullets in each other, to stem the ever-rising tide of enemies.

It's a good question -- I've often wondered this about other people. I'm married, 29, living in the middle of the desert... so my schedule gets a little funky during the summer, when it's over a 100 long after the sun goes down.

This time of year, I get up early to run, so I end up crashing out super early. My evenings are generally spent hangin' with the wife, taking the dog to the dog park (where I drink beers to beat the heat), and playing battlefield 2. Sometimes, I read books or work on my little programming projects.

Getting rid of the TV has been the best thing ever.

When you think about it, if working/commuting takes up a significant chunk of your day -- altogether, I leave at 7:00 am and return at 6:00 -- then you only have a few hours to enjoy yourself if you wanna get a full 8 hours of sleep.
posted by ph00dz at 6:33 AM on July 12, 2005

Not to derail, but why do people, in this day and age, still fall back on the old canard "reading books=good, watching tv=bad"? There is a ton of excellent programming being produced on an ongoing basis, and a casual look at bestseller lists doesn't leave a good impression of the quality of what people are reading these days.
posted by mkultra at 6:35 AM on July 12, 2005

Single, 28, late afternoon i usually work out or fall flat asleep, on nights i get together with friends and cook good food, or eat out, play music, and usually end up at a bar for a drink or two or ten. the way i combat going to bars so much is to try to date 19 or 20 year old girls that can't get into bars.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 6:45 AM on July 12, 2005

I am never going to grow up.
posted by stray at 6:48 AM on July 12, 2005

mkultra - why do you assume people watch good tv but read bad books?
posted by andrew cooke at 6:52 AM on July 12, 2005

26 here. Before I broke my ankle about two weeks ago I used to:
Workout every day after work--sometimes alone at the gym, sometimes in a class setting (kickboxing is really, really fun); watch tv, read, shop, volunteer, visit my family, occasionally go to shows...a lot like everyone else. I agree with the shared sentiment that tv viewing should be monitored--I'm guilty of watching repeats of shows I've already seen, or just plain bad television.
posted by fabesfaves at 7:08 AM on July 12, 2005

I like bicycling (and I've usually got a repair/maintenance project I can work on), hiking, yoga, reading, computer stuff (again, I've usually got some kind of hardware project that I never actually get around to working on), video games, cooking, smoking, drinking, shopping for secondhand records, all the usual things.

So, to answer your question, it seems like your situation is pretty common. (I'm 28, in a long-distance relationship, and I have few local friends.)
posted by box at 7:10 AM on July 12, 2005

My hobbies involve trying to make stuff that I can't otherwise afford (or can't justifiy). I grew up very poor and mentally can't stand to spend money (and don't really have money to spend), but I like stuff. So in my garage is a Harley sevicar/ custom trike that I have been working on for 3+ years, all the work done by me, from the welding to the House of Kolor marbleizing paint job. In my closet are several gun projects, a $100 double barrel shotgun that fired both barrels at once and had an ill fitting stock. I fixed the sear, reshaped the stock and am now working on re-checkering it. We wanted to go rv camping, so I bought an old Wilderness camper for $600, I just finished rebuilding the roof and some cabinets, hopefullly camping next weekend.
And as far as reading goes, I read my self to sleep, usually with a science-fiction magazine. 17 years ago, I got a collection of 20 years worth of science fiction mags (analog, f&sf, iasfm, galaxy) and have been averaging 1 every 2-4 days (along with new ones).
posted by 445supermag at 7:23 AM on July 12, 2005

After work:

1. Eat right away (always hungry when I get home), either having toast/cereal for dinner when the cupboard is bare or cooking something when we've got ingredients.
2. Surf the web for a while, commenting on ask metafilter, a college alumni message board and a professional message board.
3. Read a book or a magazine.
4. Go for a walk, sometimes reading while I walk. Or shoot hoops with Mr. Supafreak.
5. Talk with Mr. Supafreak about our work days and about the stuff we e-mailed each other about while at work (he's usually playing computer games while I do my other stuff).
6. Rub the cats' bellies.
7. Either listen to music or watch a couple of episodes of Law & Order.
8. Drink 1 - 3 glasses of wine.
9. Water my container garden.
10. Do my push up/sit up routine.
11. Sit on the couch and cuddle with Mr. Supafreak and the cats.
12. After four or five hours at home, I go to bed.


Sometimes I also:
- Fiddle around with my crafty hobbies (I'm knitting a sweater, I sew lots of skirts, I bind books, I make old RP's into warped artsy bowls).
- See a movie with a friend, co-worker, or Mr. Supafreak.
- Drive 30 miles to visit my closest good friend, catch up on stuff and get stupid. Then sober up before the long drive home.
- Go hiking in the mountains or caving in the caves nearby.
- Rent a video and watch it.
- Play online computer games.


I'm also awake and at home for about three hours before I go to work in the morning. I make coffee for Mr. Supafreak and me while he gets ready for work. Then I read the paper, check my web sites, feed the cats, do some dishes, and sometimes I call friends on the East Coast, where it's already the middle of the day.


I'm 27. He's 30.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:24 AM on July 12, 2005

I'm 24, he's 25. I volunteer a lot after work (I like having my weekends to myself when I can), attend meetings for my various projects, work on freelance jobs, go to the gym, help cook dinner, run errands or finish up chores. I like to catch certain shows when I can, and definitely appreciate the time I get to spend zoning out with The New Yorker or a good book. So many of my friends are people I met volunteering that my social life and volunteer life are essentially the same--so I meet up with them, talk about our projects briefly, and drink beer. I'd thought when I graduated from college that I'd love having free time, but I keep finding ways to fill it. Getting involved gives me more energy.
posted by hamster at 7:39 AM on July 12, 2005

mkultra - why do you assume people watch good tv but read bad books?

I don't. My point is that there's a wide spectrum of quality across both media, and that the traditional assumption that "reading books" is patently better than "watching tv" is hogwash.
posted by mkultra at 7:44 AM on July 12, 2005

I second getting Netflix or GreenCine. Watch a DVD each night. And not just movies, rent TV shows, documentaries, educational specials, etc. This passes almost all my time.
posted by JPowers at 7:52 AM on July 12, 2005

I read, snag a flick from my library branch, walk down the street to the local coffee shop, pluck around on my guitar, make something complicated for dinner, go for a run, talk to the crazy man about Familians and how I'm an alien.

Things I don't do include: watching TV, going down the pub, and talking to the crazy man about Familians and how I'm an alien for longer than ten minutes. [After that I start to believe him]

So I guess I fiddlyfart around.
posted by sciurus at 7:53 AM on July 12, 2005

I fall into the TV trap all too often, but I've always enjoyed signing up for a class after work. So far I've gotten hooked and yoga and swing dancing, but local community colleges/craft centers have all sorts of interesting things to try. The classes can be pretty cheap, and for one or two days a week I don't have to worry that I'm not being active or productive.
posted by estelahe at 7:54 AM on July 12, 2005

mkultra - then i don't understand your point. who's saying tv is rubbish and books are wonderful? "zoned out in front of the tv" doesn't mean "watching good tv" andy more than "thumbing through cheap airport novels" means "reading good books".

i think you're tilting at windmills that simply don't exist here.
posted by andrew cooke at 7:57 AM on July 12, 2005

When I was married I watched a lot of tv. Now, I'm in grad school and have no shortage of things to do. In the in-between years, besides movies, eating out and going to bars, I played in bands and took Japanese lessons. The biggest problem for me was time passing with little to show for it. Making music and learning a language are both rewarding while you do them and you have something to show for the effort after a while.
posted by dmo at 8:29 AM on July 12, 2005

Uh yeah, pretty much the same as everyone else here. Mid-20s and live alone, so after work, it's work out, eat, read / watch tv / watch movies, play on the internet, and talk to the boyfriend on the phone. Then there are the exciting days when I have to run errands or pay bills. I keep trying to talk myself into taking some classes, but I just can't get excited about school like I used to. Sometimes I'll go out to take photos or meet friends for dinner, but most of my life excitement happens on weekends, not weekdays after work.
posted by geeky at 8:37 AM on July 12, 2005

I usually go for a walk around the local park. Watch The Simpsons. Cook for real--I love to cook, love spending at least an hour a day chopping and mise en place-ing--it's therapeutic. After I've cleaned up from dinner I usually go rollerblading or bicycling from 8 to 9 (not in winter though, of course).

I write for pleasure, personal notebook type stuff usually, and occasionally I draw in my sketchbook or work on a painting. If I go out, it's hassle-free meandering stuff like visiting a used book store or library just to peruse. Sometimes there's cheap or free student film screenings or lectures and I attend those (they don't run late). I can sometimes manage to hang out with friends on weeknights, when it's hassle free for everyone, like we just watch a movie and part ways at someone's place, or play a board game and talk and go home early. I play with my cat. I almost daily call family and/or friends briefly, regroup socially that way...Check my personal email and favorite, regularly visited sites (Flickr, certain blogs and networking sites, eBay, delicious, audioscrobbler, etc.). Watch Conan if I'm up late enough to (not usually). Sometimes I watch a movie from my DVD collection. I'm one of those weirdos who can manage to read right before bedtime without falling asleep too soon for it to mean anything. I often listen to music in bed before I fall asleep.

The two constants are the walking and cooking though. Mm.
posted by ifjuly at 8:47 AM on July 12, 2005

I'm 28, she's 25, no kids/dogs. We pretty much do the same.
Week : eat, watch a DivX or two/read (her) and computing (me), or a movie, sometimes a restaurant, sometimes the daily chores...
Week-ends, we try to see more people, but sometimes we just can't be bothered to get out, and end-up doing weekly stuffs.
Reading all this made me wonder where are the good old days of parties and never being him. I miss that, kinda. Guess it sounds too much like grown up stuffs. Darn it.
posted by XiBe at 8:59 AM on July 12, 2005

Lately, way too much net. Some tv, often the daily show and something stupid. Cuddling with the gf. Sports, a few evenings a week. Dinner-and-a-movie with the gf, often on Wednesdays. Browsing bookstores. Read books when I can pull myself away from the 'net and tv for long enough.

I'm relieved to see that you're all as boring as I am.
posted by callmejay at 9:23 AM on July 12, 2005


We have a serious and time-consuming hobby (were both in The SCA), so our weeks are more ... um .. well, are somewhat busier than some of the others listed here.

Monday: normally just hanging out at home, maybe cooking some yummy dinner and then a bit of Tivo, snuggling on the sofa - also often a day to do laundry, change the sheets, clean the bathroom, but usually not more than a half-hour or so of housework. Monday is often our 'do something normal together' time.

Tuesday: He has martial combat practice from 6-9 pm, so I normally choose to work a bit late (until 630 - 7) then go over to practice and socialize. Then a few people come over to our house to eat and talk and hang out.

Wednesday: Often travel to a friends house for a weekly craft night.

Thursday: Laundry. Household chores. Dinner and snuggling. Me being entrapped by the computer while he naps.

Friday: Out with friends, movies, dinner, sometimes a nice walk around downtown. Portland has a thing called "First Friday" the first Friday of every month where all the little local galleries are open late and coffee shops and such like places have art and music, and sometimes we try go go.

Now that its summer we're often packing the car on Thursday nights so we can leave to go camping at an SCA event over the weekend.

This is also complicated by the fact that I also have a part time second job, so I'm often working two weeknights.

Weekends could be traveling to an SCA event, or could be just staying home and hanging out. I often work at my second job on Sunday afternoons, and he has a RPG group that come over and play on certain Sundays.
posted by anastasiav at 9:26 AM on July 12, 2005

Interesting thread!

34, separated (divorce final on July 22)

My band usually practices or plays 3-4 nights a week, which pretty much kills the evening. I generally get home about midnight, just in time grab a snack with Jon Stewart or close down the local bar.

Off-practice nights I'd usually do something more physical, but a shoulder injury has me laid up for a while. For now I'll maybe watch some TiVo-ed racing (F1, WRC, Speed GT/Touring) or Family Guy (rarely watch movies -- too much time investment!), go jogging, play with a couple hobby projects (race car, highly modded street car, R/C airplane, modded Xbox, etc), love on the cat, write some music, dork around on teh internets, sometimes read a book, constantly do laundry (grrrr...!), et cetera.
posted by LordSludge at 9:46 AM on July 12, 2005

Yeah - I know that feeling: it gets old fast, huh?

Mostly I'm a laptop slave - although I spend 8hrs a day at work with unrestricted net access, as soon as I get home the laptop's on - I like to read about new stuff, and write too. I have VNC so I often log on to work and finish something I was working on earlier, now being able to see it a bit clearer. I also buy boxed sets of comedy shows and cycle on my exercise bike for one episode every night. TV is too powerful so I rarely watch it (except sometimes Globetrekker) so that I don't get sucked in - I find a little TV's a bit like an alcoholic only having a little drink.... Oh, and I restrict drinking to one night a week.

I never cook because I reckon that all the time spent on finding recipes, buying the ingredients, going to another store because the don't have exactly what you want, cleaning, preparing, cooking, serving, and then the cleaning up again (no I don't have a dishwasher) is too much work for such an ephemeral experience. So I buy the week's food from the deli at Gelsons on Mondays.

Oh yeah, and when there's no Mrs forallmankind on the scene, I spend a lot of time planning and plotting and fantasizing: when there is a Mrs forallmankind on the scene, I spend a lot of time wishing if only I could have enough space and time to do the things I really want to do. :-)
posted by forallmankind at 9:49 AM on July 12, 2005

the traditional assumption that "reading books" is patently better than "watching tv" is hogwash.

Well, it depends what your goals are. Reading books engages more parts of the brain more actively than does TV watching, as can be shown easily in brain-wave imaging. So if your goal is to pass time in a way that physically stimulates the brain, reading is the better choice. When watching TV, deep-sleep theta waves predominate, resulting a close-to-trancelike state. It seems to be a result of the varying light levels coming from the screen coupled with the passivity of the means by which your recieve the information. That's why we get that odd feeling when we shut off the TV after a 3-hour viewing session -- that feeling of "What happened to that three hours?"
posted by Miko at 10:00 AM on July 12, 2005

My son spends two nights/week with his mom, so unless I spend the cash on a babysitter, weeknights are my only chance to get out.

I'll catch any band that doesn't look too lame. If there are no shows (often the case on Monday and Thursday nights here), I might chill at a bar with a friend or two, or spend the evening writing or coding on my laptop at a café. I always keep my eyes peeled for random and interesting workshops and such.
posted by Eamon at 10:11 AM on July 12, 2005

I'm relieved to see that you're all as boring as I am.

Actually, I don't consider my lifestyle to be the least bit boring. Ordinary, perhaps, but never boring. But then, even when I was a young whippersnapper (41 now) I could never figure out what were those "exciting" things I was supposed to be doing.
posted by JanetLand at 10:13 AM on July 12, 2005

Married, 41. My band usually practices 2 times per week, and I go to the dojo to do my jujutsu 2-3 times per week. When I get to spend evenings with my wife we usually either browse the bookstores or curl up with each other to read at home.
posted by tdismukes at 10:17 AM on July 12, 2005

I'm relieved to see that you're all as boring as I am

What ever gave you the impression we weren't - yesterday dong_resin had a bunch of us peeling the Intel and Windows stickers off our laptops: riveting stuff.... ;-)
posted by forallmankind at 10:20 AM on July 12, 2005

21, single, living alone.

Unfinished furniture. I bought a set of bookshelves and other pieces, and am now working on finishing them at night. The outlay for initial supplies can get up there (brushes, stain, polyurethane, paint thinner, sander, etc.) but I find it's very rewarding to work on and accomplish something, and at the end of everything you have a beautiful piece of furniture.

Also, scheduled ballet classes (not in session right now but starting soon), lots of laptopping (trying to cut back on that), perusing personals, reading, crosswords, trying to pick up some French and brush up on my physics...I find I need to exercise my brain after doing the same thing all day every day. No TV--don't have one (more for cost reasons that being a vehement anti-TV activist), but hitting the library for movies is good.
posted by fuzzbean at 10:29 AM on July 12, 2005

Other things to do after work:

Engage in troublemaking by planning an elaborate (but effectively harmless) prank or hoax on a friend, an enemy or a public entity that you're not fond of.

Take a course in something unexpected. Learn sign language, how to knit, play a new musical instrument. Then, find new friends to practice the skills with.

Do targeted, indie-style volunteering. Pick a deserving person you know and give them your attention and assistance for an entire evening.

Pick a public spot in your neighborhood then beautify it. Do a little bit each evening, let it grow.

Start writing a book.
posted by cior at 10:47 AM on July 12, 2005

I'm single and 25. I commute to work by bicycle, so that gets me up at 5:30am. I usually get back home about 5pm. At this point I check my email and get cleaned up. Much like the others, I like to take time to prepare my dinner, but I'm more of a simple, half-hour chef. Between cooking and eating it takes up about an hour. Then I get things in order for the next day: pack lunch, pack work clothes, etc.

At this point it's around 7-7:30pm. That gives me about 2-3 hours of free time to do something with my evening. Often times I just want to relax. Sometimes I'll throw on the TV (though it seems to be less and less often). I'll usually watch a show I DVR'd a few days back. One day a week (in the summer), I meet up with a friend to shoot hoops. My roomate and I will sometimes toss the football around or play some dominoes. Especially during the summer months (I'm in Ohio), I try to make an excuse to get outside as much as possible. I go to shows at clubs any time and artist I'm interested comes around, which is usually a couple times a month. Otherwise, being that I'm a new home owner, I never seem to have a shortage of things to keep me busy.
posted by bwilms at 10:48 AM on July 12, 2005

Married, no kids, I'm 38, he's 54.

Mon - Wed: He gets home from work, we talk a bit, he annoys the cats, one of us makes dinner (usually him), we eat, we play EverQuest. If I don't feel like playing EQ (it's never the other way around) I'll do my Metawhatever rounds or read a book. Once in while we watch a movie (we're trying to up the movie quotient) or play Cribbage or Scrabble.

Thursday: grocery shopping and pick up dinner from A&W, play EQ a bit/read, watch Lost (when it's on).

Friday: eat dinner, play EQ until the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Weekends: errands, shopping, movies, more EverQuest, trips to Seattle (I have family there), trips to Kamloops (he has family there). I'm trying to get us out to museums, etc. more often but it's hard.

We're both pretty happy with this. We used to watch a lot more TV, now it's rarely on (we don't hate it, EQ has pretty much taken it's time slot).
posted by deborah at 1:03 PM on July 12, 2005

I'm 30, he's 29. No pets, new homeowners. We're sporatic, but this week's evening activities include: yoga classes, hula hoop gatherings, fiddling with pond in the backyard, working on personal creative projects (my book; his music), beers/pub trivia with friends, and two movies (I work for a movie website, so those are sort of work/play).

My most guilty nights involve tinkering on the web. I consider my hours mindless web diddling to be the most addictive, destructive aspect of my personality. Maybe I'm being hard on myself.
posted by arielmeadow at 2:22 PM on July 12, 2005

For the TV thing, consider getting a TiVo. I have times when I'm too tired to do anything else, so I know I'm gonna watch it occassionaly, but when I had a TiVo I would only watch shows I really liked, and could limit myself to maybe 3-4 hrs a week, usually during dinner.
posted by mai at 2:40 PM on July 12, 2005

I'm 30, single and share a flat with four others and I rarely have enough time. I start work at 7am, finishing at 3pm and usually have a nap before I get on with the day. Mondays I sing in a choir, Tuesdays I teach Greek in the Open University.

Else I try to put aside one day a week to maintain a decent reading fluency in Latin, which I have my degree in, and have a reading group (duo?) once a fortnight with a friend. I also study on the side (unable to stop!) and attend a study group once a fortnight - aside from other assignments. Once every month attend to a storyteller's group.

Aside from that I don't have much of my week planned out (excepting the fortnightly visit to the library Saturday morning). I may meet a friend or four for coffee, beer, gossip, a concert or cinema, usually once or twice during the weekdays. I also work out twice a week, usually just after work. Else I read a lot, books, newspapers, various stuffy journals. I chat with my flatmates, engage in sudden culinary experiments (today, yoghurt & chocolate cake) and write. I also like to attend lectures and debates and am the leader of one such society, so some time is spent planning meeting and eating lots of food while pretending to plan.

I don't watch much television, since I don't have the attention span to follow series, but spend about three hours on the net on average, one before work and some in the afternoon.

My ex-cuddling object and I used to play lots of card games together and read aloud to each other in those long winter nights. I really miss that.
posted by mummimamma at 3:02 PM on July 12, 2005

For a usual weeknight at home, after dinner it's magazines/Web followed by Netflix/tv torrents/reading. That said, there's always some project/chore/event in the works that needs attention. Me, 32. She, 33.
posted by timnyc at 7:39 PM on July 12, 2005

It's summer - walk the roads around your house. Honestly, there's tiny flowers in the ditches and they are pretty.
posted by sled at 8:25 PM on July 12, 2005 [1 favorite]

I usually end up cooking, then watching TV while eating and then realising that it's late at night and I've just sat through three hours of the Simpsons.

Then BadlyDubbedGirl calls and she talks to me until I start talking to her from my dreamworld about Daleks, and then I realise it's time for bed. After I've done the washing up. Then I'm rejuvinated enough to go online for a couple of hours, but not awake enough to actually answer any important emails. Then I go to bed, rueing I've wasted another day.
posted by badlydubbedboy at 4:01 AM on July 13, 2005

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