Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Aside from my current hiatus, I’ve taken month-long breaks even when I was still employed. One of the things I most often get asked when I take an extended break from work is “Won’t you get bored with all that free time?”

This question strikes me as a strange attitude towards free time, as if it were an annoyance to be avoided instead of a resource to be enjoyed. The people who subscribe to this belief are probably the same people who watch TV all the time when at home, or who can’t imagine life without having a 9 to 5 job eating up most of their day. Those people need to find a hobby :p

You wouldn’t ask a billionaire “Won’t you get bored with all that money?” because you know there are a lot of ways to invest money, grow it or use it. Time is the same thing: a valuable resource that you can simply use in everyday consumption activities like watching TV/movies or you can also choose to invest your time in learning or creation activities that expand your horizons.

The difference between time and money is that money is a renewable resource (you can always earn more!), while time used up is never coming back. Therefore, you should value time more than money. There are some people (workaholics) who think that time spent not earning money is wasted time. But in truth, you only need to spend time to earn money enough to provide for your own needs. Beyond that, the money is simply a luxury that you need to weigh alongside the luxury of free time.

So do what I do: cherish and enjoy your free time, especially that unprogrammed time that you can spend however you wish, and make sure you spend it only on activities that are worthwhile for you.

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roytang.net is a personal site; I post about a random assortment of topics that interest me including software development, Magic the Gathering, pop culture, gaming, and tech life. This site is perpetually under renovation.