Your client is stuck in traffic. You scheduled the sitter for the wrong day. Your 3:00 call just bailed.
Beyond heading for bed, here are 10 ideas to keep at the ready for the next time someone gives you the gift of time.
1. St. Bart’s in a Booth. The spray tan application process can be a little weird (imagine standing in your shower in a John Wayne gunslinger pose while cold jets hit you from unforgiving angles) but duck in for a few minutes and you’ll perk up your look for days.
2. Grocery Tourist. Cruise the aisles of an ethnic grocery store and pretend you’ve left the country. Drink in the sights and the smells. What is that colorfully packaged snack? Who cares! Try it, you’re on vacation!
3. Fizzy Fun. Pick up your favorite frizzy drink, candy and stack of the glossy celeb magazines and head to a quiet place to trash out. Drinking through a straw made by biting off the ends of your red licorice is optional.
4. Pimp Your Ride. As a chauffeur of multitudes, your car is probably not pristine. Get it cleaned. You could do this yourself at one of those drive-up car wash stations, but that makes it harder to have that well-earned mini-meditation.
5. Just Do It. “It” being something you’ve never done. Acupuncture? A new museum? Cocktails at a hotel bar in the middle of the day? Anything goes, as long as it’s new to you.
6. Playdate for One. Head to the playground and swing – or swing that jump rope you should keep in your car for impromptu exercise sessions. Enjoy how this releases your childlike creative spirit – and enjoy not having to mind the real childrenscreaming for their parents’ attention.
7. Go to College. On Open Culture and iTunes you’ll find university lectures on topics from languages to cyberculture. Grab your iPod, sit in a coffee shop while you sip and take notes. Then, when people ask what you’ve been up to, casually throw in “a few classes at Yale.”
8. Book Lunch. Take a table for one at a restaurant that does not serve chicken nuggets and enjoy reading a book that has nothing to do with child rearing, business, or self-improvement.
9. Get Sketchy. Set up wherever you find yourself and start drawing. Could be a portrait, could be a cool building, could be the wrappers that just fell out of your purse. You don’t need more than a regular pencil and some recycled copy paper, although a beret is always jaunty.
10. Do-Gooder. This may take some advance planning, but you can lay the groundwork now. Whether you give blood, visit a nursing home, or help the overworked librarian shelve for an hour, you’ll go away with a refreshed glow that even tops the spray tan.