What do you do in the evenings?
November 29, 2012 2:21 AM   Subscribe

What do you do in the evenings?

I'm a single guy that lives in the suburbs. I have to be here for work. I have a reasonable number of friends in order to do stuff on the weekends, but there are two to three nights a week where I simply have trouble occupying my evenings. I already exercise after work 2-3 days a week. Basically, my routine has become fix dinner, drink some bourbon, watch a tv show or two, read a book, get sleepy, fall asleep.

I'm not expecting brilliant answers to this question. I'm just curious.
posted by uncannyslacks to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (65 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
Buy an Xbox360?
posted by jozxyqk at 2:32 AM on November 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

Three nights a week I go to Starbucks after the gym and write, the other two nights I eat carbohydrates and watch The Wire.

My apartment is too small for anything other than eating, sleeping, or watching The Wire, otherwise I wouldn't spend so much time out of it.
posted by betweenthebars at 2:33 AM on November 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

ok, here's my non-brilliant answer (in the form of a question): What's wrong with what you are doing now?

Do you have to fill up every minute with "events"? The only point I might caution you against is the TV watching. IMHO, there's nothing wrong with cooking, drinking, reading, or sleeping.
posted by segatakai at 2:40 AM on November 29, 2012 [7 favorites]

feed the dog, walk the dog, play with the dog, try to roll the dog out of the way so I can actually get in to my own bed...

sometimes I go to the pool, but mainly for the sauna & hot tub

this is really close to chat filter, what are you hoping to accomplish?
posted by mannequito at 2:49 AM on November 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Get together with some friends (or go to a local boardgames meetup) and play boardgames.

Also, Xbox.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:50 AM on November 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

Like segatakai, I don't feel the need to be doing something every night, or even most nights. I think sometimes people are anxious about being left with their own thoughts, or without a plan for the next few hours.

So read a book, cook yourself something special, take a bath, watch something good on TV - it's time well spent. If you're lonely, call someone you care about and have a long chat. Learn to think of this not as having trouble filling your time, but as 'me time' where you're not bound by a schedule or anyone's expectations. As a parent of two small kids, I've learned to treasure whatever down-time I get.
posted by pipeski at 2:50 AM on November 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm out just about every weekday night, playing boardgames or Magic. I hardly have the time to watch telly, or even play on the Xbox.
posted by salmacis at 3:03 AM on November 29, 2012

Mod note: yeah, this is uncomfortably close to chatfilter, but I'm assuming OP is looking for alternative ideas about ways to spend their leisure time, so suggestions for that are the way to go, as opposed to a straight-up reader-poll that doesn't present new ideas – ie: "I sleep," etc.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:14 AM on November 29, 2012

Night classes?
posted by Mertonian at 3:18 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Take up a craft of some sort. When I was single I started making really simple quilts and then hand quilting them. I also learned how to crochet. Those may not be the hobbies for you, but something that at least keeps your hands busy while you watch tv and produces something is nice.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 3:18 AM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

1. Invite friends over to watch movies or tv.

2. Get some camera and lights and put up your own XXX rated website.

3. Go volunteer.

4. Learn to grow marijuana.

5. Read a book.

6. Get a significant other. Then see #2.

PS, avoid Metafilter, it's a time suck.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:33 AM on November 29, 2012 [15 favorites]

Learn to play guitar, or a foreign/computer language. You could do these out of the house or on your own.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:35 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

To answer your question (i.e. not suggesting what you should do)

1. I often get stuck behind the computer, metafilter being one of the culprits, youtube another.
2. Elaborate cooking, as opposed to one-pan-scarf-down food.
3. Wine and cheese and some reading, preferably escapist stuff of one or another kind.
4. I keep working (almost a must for the self-employed). This can be anything from writing, revising, translating, supervision, tuning and playing my instrument, transcribing music, or reading up on research. The point being, anyone can establish research interests (etc.) and use their free time for working with them.
5. Messing around with my model trains (now there's a time sink).
Mix of 1, 2 and 4.: Blogging about one or another activity.
6. TV or rented movies.
7. Renovating and/or cleaning the house.
posted by Namlit at 3:36 AM on November 29, 2012

Before I got married I spent my free time dating. After I got married, and if I happened to be on business trips (sometimes for a month at a time) I would study study study.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:05 AM on November 29, 2012

Please may I have one of your spare evenings?

Here are things I do with mine, narrowed down into a shorter list of those that aren't total time-wasters that I wish I could stop doing :)

- have dinner with a friend, somewhere I haven't eaten before

- help an older lady who lives nearby to clear out her loft (I got into this through Freeconomy, it's awesome)

- sing with a choir

- about once a week, have a longish phonecall with a friend or relative I haven't spoken to in a while

- have a drink with my colleagues

- go to a meetings of local activist groups (occasionally)
posted by greenish at 4:07 AM on November 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

Ooh! I forgot. Play music. Why not take up an instrument?

I do that almost every evening. I guess that's why I forgot it, it's as routine as brushing my teeth :)
posted by greenish at 4:08 AM on November 29, 2012

Take up a hobby or artistic pursuit - reading, writing, painting, knitting, sewing - there are many hands-on things you can do. I like to write (even if it's just leaving reviews on MakeupAlley or something!), read, and decoupage.

I also have three cats who are great company and fun to watch.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:17 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Learn how to program, design websites, or take an online course.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:20 AM on November 29, 2012

Actually, after I got married, but before children I:

- Got off work at 5
- Went to the gym for an hour
- Worked at a part-time job for an hour (I lived in Japan and had a lucrative side business teaching English related to ISO audits)
- Went home and ate dinner (my wife worked evenings in commercial space adjoining our house)
- Studied for a bit while watching tv
- Had a bath
- Drank a beer with my wife
- Went to bed at around 11

I had a lot of free time and a lot of energy then.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:39 AM on November 29, 2012

Take up a hobby or artistic pursuit - reading, writing, painting, knitting, sewing - there are many hands-on things you can do.

It's a self link, but you might want to check out Dabbler - we set you up with a new hobby every month. The act of having hobbies is awesome and world-expanding and time-taking-up, but the finding enjoyable ones is always the tough part.

We're working on balancing it between crafty stuff and intellectual stuff and cooking stuff, so in theory there'll be Something For Everyone.
posted by soma lkzx at 5:00 AM on November 29, 2012 [15 favorites]

Response by poster: Yeah, in regard to the chatfilter issues that taz and mannequito pointed out, I'm essentially looking for ideas of other ways to spend the evenings. I am curious for that reason. 'Course, this leaves the question a little open-ended.

I've seen other questions where people look for suggestions, but I was hoping to hear what other people do rather than just suggestions. There's often a disparity between how people spend their time and what they would idealistically tell someone in regard to spending their time.
posted by uncannyslacks at 5:03 AM on November 29, 2012 [5 favorites]

* Fart around online.
* Meditate.
* Read books.
* Join a chorus and rehearse with group/bang out the notes at home and sing along.
* Watch TV.
* Listen to music & read books.
* Find more books to read/movies to watch online.
* Go to the gym.
* Call my mom.
* Sharpen up those digital images from the camera.
* Eat M&Ms. (sigh) not recommended
posted by Currer Belfry at 5:09 AM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I generally spend one evening a week volunteering at a local Prison Book Program that sends books to prisoners.

I also talk to people on the phone, cook interesting things, and make things.
posted by pie ninja at 5:18 AM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

If I have a block of an hour or more (this rarely happens), I cross-stitch. Maybe you could take up some sort of hobby that takes a long time? Learning an instrument was a good suggestion.
posted by gaspode at 5:57 AM on November 29, 2012

It's a good question, actually, because I often find "how to live" mysterious.

For most of the last two years, I've had a long-running extracurricular but work-related project that happens mostly in the evenings. I can handle that about three nights a week, give or take, usually best if it's divided from work by a brain reset, ie, a short nap or an hour of TV.

As for the other nights... every once and a while it's "stay home and read" but otherwise it's see friends, play cards, do volunteer work, hatch schemes with online friends, etc.

It's very easy for me to slip into "eat something, watch TV, go to sleep," and, for ME, that's a recipe for unhappiness, weight gain and ongoing apathy and ennui. But it does happen.

I think it's very important to embrace your evenings in pursuit of your passions. Work isn't always fulfilling, it turns out.

But still, I also learned to embrace TV! I always thought of TV as "something you do when there's nothing better to do." But that's not accurate, if you treat yourself right with TV. I found old and new shows that I was really interested in, and thought were good or even important, and pursuing consuming them as I would any other art form. That is really the opposite of consuming TV crap.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 5:58 AM on November 29, 2012 [5 favorites]

I'm old now, so I'm perfectly happy with:

Cook dinner
Clean up after dinner
Watch TV in bed with the cats (and Husbunny) until bedtime.

Sometimes I talk to people on the phone, but I really enjoy television. If you pick your shows right it can be entirely worthwhile.

We have UBER-CABLE 9000 so we get all the channels. There are a metric shit-ton of History, Smithsonian, H2, PBS, channels if you like the highbrow stuff. Nova and Frontline are consistantly great and informative.

I love HBO dramas (The Wire being a fantastic example). I also enjoy People's Court, Law and Order (mothership and Criminal Intent), The First 48 (for REAL police procedurals), and other DVR fillers.

Ken Burns just had a great documentary about The Dust Bowl.

So don't pooh-pooh TV, it can be a fantastic way to learn about all kinds of interesting stuff. It can be fun too. I'm not above watching some pretty shitty things, I just try to have a 90/10 ratio of Good to Crap.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:17 AM on November 29, 2012

Start working on an advanced degree with night classes. Trust me, taking classes while working will make you yearn for the days you could just have a bourbon and watch some TV.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:25 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Fix supper, eat supper, kinda pick up the kitchen. When there's daylight, and warm evenings, I work in the yard. Do laundry. Get clothes and foods ready for work the next day. Watch TV. Surf the net. Sometimes chat with folks on Facebook. I used to go to Contra Dance at least once a week, and English Country Dance on occasional Friday evenings. My high school friends and I go out to a nice restaurant once a month. I used to also be big into Civil War Reenacting(getting old and tired now, lol) so that meant many evenings I was making some sort of dress or uniform for myself and various family members. I have friends who do board game nights at the library and board game shops. They also have video game night or board game nights at their homes. There's stuff to do, you just have to figure out what you're into.
posted by PJMoore at 6:27 AM on November 29, 2012

I have the same kind of routine as you some nights. I try to go to bed early when I don't have anything else going on but often get sucked into the internet.

Here are some of the other things I do outside of the house when left to my own devices:

Go out for dessert and a glass of wine at a local bar/cafe (often with book)
Knitting group
Sing with a chorus
Do my grocery shopping/errands (after dinner the stores are much quieter than after work)
Go to the movies
Go to a play or live music event (this is pretty rare for me)
Take an adult ed class (recently: ukulele; previously: pottery, improv comedy, tap dancing)

And inside the house:

Knit (in front of the TV)
Play piano or ukulele or sing
Cleaning/laundry/mending (why leave it for the weekend?)
posted by mskyle at 6:31 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

(Sorry just saw the "looking for realistic things".) I am a full-time student (worked 5 years before returning to school) so I'm usually in the library or slacking off and watching TV. But I am in class with a lot of people who work full-time and are in masters or post-bacc classes, and class ends up taking 1-5 of their evenings, depending on # of classes and workload. My chem lab partner is taking 2 (chem lecture and lab) and she's in class 2 nights a week, plus all the studying and assignments that need to get done.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:33 AM on November 29, 2012

How's the light pollution in your area?

If it isn't too bad, consider amateur astronomy. You can find decent telescopes on Craigslist for a reasonable price.

And what a cool way to spend an evening! Contemplating the red bands of Jupiter and noting its many moons, marveling at Saturn's ring and surveying the surprisingly jagged topography of our own moon is a rewarding and almost spiritual experience.

In addition, it's an enriching, time-consuming hobby obviously well-suited to the evenings.

I'll do that three nights a week.
posted by shiggins at 6:34 AM on November 29, 2012

I've usually got some sort of blog than needs to be worked on, whether it's research, or writing, or technical parts, and that'll suck up at least a few nights a week. I usually have a low-impact (read: network/basic cable procedural) on in the background while I do it.

And I try to go see as much live music as possible. Even if it is a band I'm "eh" about, I'll get tickets and go just to make sure I get some culture in me regularly.
posted by griphus at 6:37 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is why I have hobbies.

Mine are knitting and writing romance novels, so I don't even have to leave the house.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:50 AM on November 29, 2012

One of the more interesting things I've been doing recently is brewing beer. This can very much be done in chunks of evening time over multiple weeks. If you have a brew going you might have to spend one night a week doing something over the course of four to six weeks. It's naturally staggered work, and time is not critical, so you can usually put off a step until tomorrow if you feel like it.
posted by distorte at 6:58 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Most nights, after the kid is in bed, we watch an hour or so of TV together and then split off into separate pursuits until bedtime: she's taken up beading and making jewelry, I've lately been exercising and practicing fire spinning, and also playing more video games than I really ought to.
posted by ook at 7:03 AM on November 29, 2012

When I get home from work I run/walk for an hour, do pushups, eat a quick dinner and then alternate between playing keyboard, drawing, writing, and reading. I am not particularly good at any of these, but I still work at it. Sometimes I have a specific project I'm working on. I just started taking drum lessons once a week so that happens. I don't use my computer unless I need to pay a bill or do something along those lines. TV is limited to one show per night, if at all. If a friend invites me out I always say yes and that tends to be a welcome break to my abnormally structured evenings. I keep a productivity log so at the end of the week I can look at it and go "cool, I'm not wasting my life," which is my ultimate (irrational) fear. I thrive on feeling productive so this works for me.
posted by saltwater at 7:05 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I watch a lot of tv, but I don't just turn on the tv and channel surf through all kinds of infomercials and Friends reruns. I find shows that I enjoy and that have multiple seasons already and I get the DVDs of those shows from the library or find them online and watch the whole thing through. It is much more enjoyable and sitting down and watching a few consecutive episodes of a show you enjoy is miles and miles apart from randomly watching 2/3 of a horrible reality show that happens to be on tv at any given time, plus there aren't any commercials on DVDs, so you don't get brainwashed while you're doing it. Following the arc of a well done tv show is much closer to reading a book in terms of fulfillment; in other words, it feels good, whereas I find flopping down tiredly on the couch and watching the last 10 minutes of Seinfeld can feel desperate and depressing.
posted by starfishprime at 7:16 AM on November 29, 2012

I work most evenings, but evenings that I don't work I am usually doing one of the following

- cleaning up my place which is always a little "in process" including my virtual space [computer desktop]
- watching a movie or, more often, reading a book
- making something complicated for dinner/dessert that takes up a lot of my time
- working on holiday stuff (this year I am making postcards)
- dishes/laundry
- catching up on email
- upload or organize some photos
- MeFi chat room
- practice ukulele
posted by jessamyn at 7:22 AM on November 29, 2012

Oh, as far as TV-watching goes, you can watch TV consciously and invest yourself in the show, and in that way, it wouldn't be any "dumber" than reading a book. Watch some really well-made, well-written television like Boardwalk Empire or any of the (good) premium channel dramas or comedies, and then go online and read well-written criticisms and explications. After every episode of BE I watched, I maybe did an hour of reading of very well-written reviews by people rather educated in film and television. It opened me up to things I missed, connected plot threads, exposed themes that I didn't notice, and just completely expanded by notion of what TV could be. Television is just another medium; there's nothing inherently wrong with watching television if you engage yourself with the material.
posted by griphus at 7:23 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Before I was married and a parent, I would be on the water. Sailing, rowing, or swimming. I had my whole life structured around that, so if you try it and Fall In Love with it, prepare for some lifestyle adjustments. Totally worth it.

Since then, when my wife and I are doing separate things and the kids are asleep, I am noodling around with my PICAXE microcontrollers. There's also something I've heard about from time to time called an Arduino, but not many people use that.
posted by BeeDo at 7:34 AM on November 29, 2012

Do you have any married friends that have kids? They need you!! Find a way to entertain them, rescue them from the drudgery that is their life. Bring them over a pizza for dinner. Take them out. Go over for a visit. Let them live vicariously through you.
posted by Blake at 7:36 AM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I teach my dogs tricks, play board or card games with my husband, cook, read books or MF, and do dishes. At various points I've gone deep into other hobbies like learning an instrument, woodworking, and knitting. Sometimes I'll get ahold of a craft book, like I was making these cool origami boxes for a little while, or doing paper cuts (I should get back to the paper cuts, I would love to be really good at it!). But I usually do at least a little trick training every single night. I honestly don't watch TV anymore, not out of principle but because the internet has totally shot my attention span. Coming up, I'm going to be sewing some new dog beds and learning how to use my Wacom tablet.
posted by HotToddy at 7:50 AM on November 29, 2012

Socializing. I'm mid-twenties, single female (but dating someone casually), living in a big city. I am only at home before 10pm one or two nights out of 7. On those nights, I do laundry, pay bills, go to the grocery store, read.

The other 3-4 weeknights (I think of Sunday as a weeknight) I am getting dinner or drinks with friends, acquaintances, or professional contacts. Sometimes I go with a friend or two to an event - a book launch party, a hackathon, bowling, rock climbing, salsa dancing. Sometimes I have a happy hour or dinner party organized by someone else. I take a look at my week on Sunday or Monday and where I have empty nights I start to reach out to people to fill them.

YMMV. I'm a serious extrovert. I also usually have 1 or 2 breakfast/lunch/coffee dates throughout the week and often have two social obligations in one weekday evening. For me this is just as stimulating and recharging and fulfilling as hobbies like knitting, music, carpentry, whatever. I get deep pleasure from connecting with interesting people for good conversation.

I get my solo time running in the mornings or on the nights I come home early around 7 or 8.

You say that you have friends to fill the weekends but not the weeknights - I guess what I'm getting at is that were I in your position I would expand my social network and make more friends/acquaintances.
posted by amaire at 8:49 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

My most common after-work activities include playing musical instruments, cooking/baking something (this often takes 1-2 hours), cleaning or organizing stuff, reading varying amounts of Internet, playing with cat. Once it gets to be 10:00 or later, I tend to dim the lights and turn on the TV/Netflix while I knit something. I may or may not also read right before bed.

Sometimes I have special projects depending on my needs at the time. This may require learning a new skill, like some web design kind of thing, or updating a website.
posted by wondermouse at 9:05 AM on November 29, 2012

I work until 7ish, Gym until 8, go home and cook dinner and deal with whatever around the house stuff needs to be done. On a really shitty day, I make kraft mac and cheese, pour myself a fancy drink and I hang out in front of the TV playing angry birds and looking at pictures of other people's cats. Some nights I meet up with a friend for a round instead of going to the gym, but after working all day, most of the time I just want to sit alone at home.

I try to do as many of the cleaning, shredding of papers, laundry and maintanance activities during the week so that my weekends are truely dedicated to being a lazy bum.
posted by larthegreat at 9:51 AM on November 29, 2012

I usually work until late. I get home, exercise a bit, cook and eat, then it's whatever combination of
- Play a video game (usually allows me to socialize with my friends in MeFightClub at the same time)
- Sewing or other crafty thing for whatever project I'm working on
- Baking, usually bread but sometimes pie or cookies
- Write a blog entry for my Swedish blog
- Watch a bit of TV until I get bored
- Work on the website I'm building to showcase my mom's genealogy research
- Work on my website/organize digital music files/translate songs
- Clean, pay bills, or do other household chores
- Go through my normal "what's happening in the world" websites, including overseas newspapers
- Practice guitar
- Always read before sleeping
posted by gemmy at 9:56 AM on November 29, 2012

I ride a bicycle. I live in the urban sprawl of Fort Worth, but there is a pretty darned neato group of people who ride out of the near southside (by downtown). I have to ride 8-9 miles to join them, then ride home at the end. They ride twice a week (Sunday and Wed. nights) and the rides involve bar/restaurant stops. It's quite a bit of fun while getting exercise (usually about 30 miles of cycling in a night).

Through that group I've made many new friends; it's quite an eclectic group, which leads to other activities.

Other nights I just ride solo. I've explored a lot of neighborhoods and sections of the city in a level of detail that you just can't do from a car, but much more quickly than you can do on foot.

In a lot of suburban/urban areas, the streets get pretty quiet after about 7 pm and with proper lights, riding a bike is quite safe.

I would recommend riding a bicycle, either solo or with a group. If you can't find one locally, start one. The Night Riders were basically started by a small group of friends as a Facebook group a few years ago, and now the rides can attract nearly 100 riders, so something like that can grow pretty quickly.
posted by Doohickie at 10:44 AM on November 29, 2012

Bike riding (when it's warm enough at night) and due to it being almost winter I end up riding in the dark with a headlamp.

Currently I'm getting back into drawing comics. This involves writing a script, then roughing the page out, then penciling, then inking. A rather long and involved process. One page will take 3-4 hours to get done. (Before coloring)

Other activities include game programming and (lately) abstract level design.

I basically try to make something every day.
posted by hellojed at 10:49 AM on November 29, 2012

If you're looking to get out of the house, how about weekly bowling league, or bar trivia?

As a TV addict, it concerns me that you're only getting about 1 hour a night. Are you aware that even a moderate increase in TV watching would let you take in some excellent dramatic series that're being made these days?

I also smoke cigars-- this involves going outside with a beerverage and a book, and it can take around an hour to do, depending on the smoke. I've never thought of cigars as a time-kill; they're more of a "I can't do much else while I smoke, so life can just take a break while I smoke." Don't inhale. Also, enjoy a moderate nicotine buzz.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:53 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I end up on the internet mainly. Whatever bizarre thing I may have come upon browsing around.

For example I have been watching someone's youtube blog for some time and then there was the battle of waterloo full movie on YT I figure I should keep a tab open for some bored day. These are all slowly consumed over time alongside silly cat videos.

I recently bought a few niche games this past BF. For example, Crusader Kings 2. I love the strategy games from Paradox and CK2 is just so different.

Also downtime is time to make sure all the finances are in order. Ponder your bank balance, etc. Any small thing I wrote I needed to do on a sticky happens in those open hours typically.
posted by Bodrik at 11:04 AM on November 29, 2012

It depends. But usually:

Change, lay out tomorrow's AM workout and work clothes, open mail, prepare lunch for next day, and cook or re-heat dinner, watch Jeopardy! on DVR with my Bear,and sometimes other DVR'd stuff, cuddle and play with the dog, pet the kitties, do a little reading, go to sleep.

Other more occasional evening activities: go out to play, symphony, dinner or movie with Bear, knit or crochet or embroider, mess with my camera, which I may never finish learning about, meditate, review a course session from The Teaching Company, work the week's NYT crosswords, play some logic games.
posted by bearwife at 11:07 AM on November 29, 2012

Mostly the same, levened with surfing the Web, playing one or another computer game, paying bills (in front of TV), dealing with family photos, researching household projects, etc. Sometimes I actually have time and energy for things I consider hobbies or avocations, the nature of which has changed every 5-10 years.

The more people you have in your family, the more small obligations and tasks (from phone calls to trips) add up, reducing the number of hours you wish you were occupied (or increasing the degree to which you wish you had more free time)...
posted by acm at 11:19 AM on November 29, 2012

oh yeah, and subscriptions to a local theater and the symphony, just to be sure we get out and actually take in some culture. if I had more time (or a built-in sitter), I'd add more movies and leisurely meals out, but those are mostly on hold for now...
posted by acm at 11:20 AM on November 29, 2012

You can always stumble over to chat.metafilter.com and hang out.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 11:28 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

ditto video games.

It need not even be an antisocial thing if you have a headset and friends on the same platform. And of course not all multiplayer need be competitive. I've been playing a lot of coop Borderlands 2 with friends recently.

I don't generally recommend playing with complete strangers though.
posted by juv3nal at 11:30 AM on November 29, 2012

I started taking dance lessons. It's been working ok so far.
posted by Green With You at 11:38 AM on November 29, 2012

Go for a walk.
Go for a drive.
Try taking your camera.
posted by serena15221 at 11:58 AM on November 29, 2012

I guess one thing I would ask you is do you enjoy just having some bourbon and reading and feel like you *should* be doing something else at night? Or are you genuinely unhappy doing those things and want to be doing something else? Because there is nothing wrong with just having a drink and doing some reading. If I was independently wealthy, it's all I would do, personally.

It's easy, I think, these days to fall into the "busy" trap, where you should always be being busy, and where only certain activities count as "busy," for largely arbitrary reasons (generally, things which make good photos on facebook, like going out and being about, or producing something). But there is no reason this should be the case. If you enjoy just reading at night, that isn't at all nothing.

I sort of organize my entire life around reading. What I do is read; in my other time I go to work, go to class, make dinner. I think it's easy to feel guilty about reading, because you feel like you ought to be out doing some sort of 'living,' whatever that means. But reading is a totally legit way to spend your evening. It doesn't have to be relegated to the status of what you do when you have nothing better to do. It can be the thing.

I also think that in between a reasonably healthy social life and work, people need some downtime. I sometimes think the world would be a bit of a better place if everyone, especially us Americans, just did a little less, in the way culture has come to think of "doing." It also makes the time we are at work or with friends more meaningful.

Perhaps you genuinely do feel bored - some people's way of recharging is to go out, to be more active. If that's you, then by all means volunteer somewhere or take a night class or start a long-term creative project. But reflect a bit on why you feel restless in those evenings and try and determine whether you are actually wanting to be doing something else, or only feel like you ought to be.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:58 PM on November 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

When I get home I:

put on my pajamas (usually to my husband's chagrin)
fold/put away laundry
listen to music while I do dishes/cook/bake
lie in our hammock and talk to my husband while he cooks
play games or read news/feeds on the ipad
spend time with my husband (if you know what I'm saying...)
read (I also read on the bus and during my lunch break)
call/Skype my mother, father, or sisters (usually while doing something else!)
very occasionally clean :)
take walks if it's nice
watch TV with my husband (Star Trek TNG at the moment!)
or, watch TV by myself (on Hulu or Amazon Prime - never live) while I:
make art (drawing & watercolor)
edit photographs on the computer
shop online or wrap presents (at this time of the year, at least!)

I go out maybe 1-2 times a week to parties, dinners, etc. If it's during the week it's probably a local show that one of my musician friends is playing. I also have some monthly/quarterly things, like clothing swaps and a new book club I started!
posted by Isingthebodyelectric at 2:18 PM on November 29, 2012

• Make dinner
• Eat while reading stuff online
• Clean up dinner dishes
• If it's light out, go for a walk to the park
• Then it depends. Sometimes I have a lazy evening of just websurfing/RSS reading. I follow a few shows which I watch via Netflix, or download. If I'm feeling ambitious, I paint in my spare time; small paintings, nothing big. Sometimes I just sketch. Sometimes I do photo manipulation in Photoshop. I'd say my ratio of lazy evenings to productive ones is about 1:5.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 3:44 PM on November 29, 2012

The mister and I eat dinner, chat about our days while we're cleaning up, then we either watch a movie together or play WoW together or he'll play WoW and I'll surf (haunt Mefi and Metachat, mostly). He usually goes to bed before I do (I'm a night-owl). Weekends are usually the same only there's usually time for both a movie and WoW playing. Sometimes we read instead of a movie and/or gaming (we also read other times during the day, usually while eating our meals).

We're quite boring, really.
posted by deborah at 4:24 PM on November 29, 2012

Each of these things tends to happen about twice a month: dinner with friends; Bible study or church social event; yoga class; getting together with friends and knitting.

I spend a couple of hours each week doing freelance bookkeeping. And I teach a college class, so MANY hours a week are spent preparing lectures, grading, meeting with students, oh, and actually teaching. This is a really good way to consume all your free time and then some.
posted by hishtafel at 9:01 PM on November 29, 2012

Read books.
Read blogs.
Work out - lift weighs, run, ride.
Make dinner.
Clean house.
Household admin - bills, banking...etc.
Play videogames.
Watch TV.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:32 PM on November 29, 2012

I'm going to EMT school right now, so that's three nights of my week. The other two, I stay at work a bit later, go to the gym, and then either noodle around on the internet until bedtime or else have dinner with my family.

Less frequently:
- Maybe two Fridays a month, I go to a contra dance.
- Every month or two, I have a topical talk or seminar after hours relevant to my day job. I usually hear about these through friends from college or previous jobs or industry-specific mailing lists.
- About as frequently, I find a random play or performance I want to see. I'm subscribed to a few mailing lists and sometimes I read the entertainment section of the local newspaper.

Your point about the difference between ideal and actual evenings is well taken. I'd like to say I take my bike out for random rides, work on personal projects, write for my blog (well, my unpublished, very idiosyncratic blog, so "highly technical diary"?), and then turn in early for a good night's sleep. In practice I often find myself in a strange middle ground where I'm too mentally tired to do anything intellectually demanding and yet not physically tired enough to fall asleep. Unfortunately, the things I like to do that tire me out require either equipment (weightlifting) or attention (bicycling in New York). Meanwhile, there's always the internet...
posted by d. z. wang at 9:56 PM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Cook dinner, do crafts, watch tv, pay bills, play with my dog & cat, sometimes I go to a dance class or go out to dinner with friends, usually I'm in bed by like 9:15 on weeknights though where I read for about an hour and fall asleep.
posted by magnetsphere at 7:42 AM on November 30, 2012

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