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I don’t know what to do in my free time other than drink

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a married man in my 30s who works as an information technology engineer. I have no idea what to do in my spare time.

On my days off, I clean our house, do the washing and go jogging. Finishing this routine, I have nothing to do, so I end up drinking beer, or sake, as early as before noon.

I don’t feel like reading books, because I’m not interested in stories written by others. I don’t like watching movies for the same reason. I like animals and nature, but I’m not enthusiastic enough to go admire them. I’m satisfied with how I am now, so I’m not interested in personal development. I used to spend a lot of time and money on learning cooking and taking piano lessons, but they’ve already faded from my memories. I don’t care to get them back.

I feel motivated by my job, but I don’t want to work on my days off. My wife is kind and dependable, but we respect each other’s ways of life and don’t meddle in each other’s matters.

Drinking alcohol is my only unchanging hobby. The older I get, the less I can drink, though. I know I should avoid drinking in the morning because it’s not good for my health. However, I find myself drinking beer when I have nothing to do.

I usually gaze at the sky vacantly to kill time. I’ve become sick of doing this.

N, Tokyo

Dear Mr. N:

You should try to find out on your own what to do. That may be the most suitable way to kill time.

Even if you ask others what you should do and they tell you what they think, you probably won’t follow their advice. If that’s the case, then it’s better for you to find something that’s suited to you and worth doing.

You say you’re looking for something to kill time. I have a question. Don’t you think you’re obsessed with some kind of stereotype? It seems you’re the type of person who has to give a reason for every single thing you do.

In other words, you probably feel guilty about staying idle. As a result, you end up drinking because the alcohol won’t criticize you.

Ultimately, this may be nothing more than a drinker’s excuse for drinking. First and foremost, drinking can’t be a hobby.

I suggest when you are sober, you take time to ask yourself what you should do. Put questions to yourself and seek the answers by yourself. I suspect you haven’t reflected on yourself like this.

You should study yourself in depth — there can’t be any better way to kill time than this.

Tatsuro Dekune, writer

(from Aug. 12 issue)Speech

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