This summer I gave some stuff up. No Torah reading. No Ba-al Tfiloh. Agreed to two special occasion haftarot. No committees. Ration shabbos morning at the synagogue to twice a month. And for two weeks, I've not logged onto SERMO, the physicians' posting site. I go to the hospital much less on Sundays than I used to, following the four consult rule of making the special trip if four new people need to be seen by mid-day Sunday. That should leave me a lot of discretionary time but except for those Sundays it has really been the recapturing of odd moments rather than large blocks to pursue major projects. Torah reading prep went mostly in half-hour sessions but it occurred in an organized way pretty much every day. Haftarah, shorter times over a briefer span. Ba-al Tfiloh hardly at all. Committees occupy mostly one horrid evening two or three times a year, substantial time when it occurs, prime for replacement with specific projects but few enough of those times to enable transforming work. Then more recently SERMO hiatus, extended for week. Again, mostly odd moments more than sustained activity.
So what did I do instead with the odd moments or the brief but repetitive activities? I really have not replaced them very well with the exception of the Torah practice which went to serious Jewish reading at nights. More recently SERMO time diverted to other commentary, largely Jewish with posts on Jewish blogs similar in length and intricacy to what I would have put on a SERMO post. I must say that SERMO has been a good deal more interactive, one of the strengths of SERMO. Other doctors seem to function better as colleagues than do other Jews. They certainly come across as more inquisitive and challenging. I'll be back there next week. While I could and should replace that shabbat time, I have not done that in a meaningful way. There was a time when I would reserve one Saturday monthly for a day trip, taking me to places like Cape May or the Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville or the Lehigh Valley. I greatly enjoyed those trips but even though I now have at least one more shabbat a month devoted to my highest level of amusement, I've not taken advantage of it. I do not use the computer on shabbos and for the most part have given up shopping but will go out to eat. My platelet donation activity is perhaps slightly more frequent and I watch more TV but cannot say that I am either productive or restful most of the time.
It's an interesting self-reflection, as I thought I would do better than I really did. So the future: back on SERMO. Restart my monthly day trips. Set the four hours of weekend hospital work for either housework or writing. Always have a Jewish book not quite read, as I started doing this week with Kohelet. And maybe volunteer to do a meaningful AKSE project once a more compatible President takes over.