Hi guys... thanks for the replies. I'll reply to your questions in separate replies and will spread them out over the day (want to get outside and enjoy the sunshine!)
BeyondtheWrap: It's funny, I've been struggling with the "how do I spend my time" question lately, which is funny since I have around 20 years of "experience" at having 50% or more of my time being my own.
Functionally, I travel (this is new-ish, travel is expensive too so I had to get to a comfortable level first). I have hobbies that may or may not pay off in additional income over time (mostly not), like painting, writing, piano, learning french, various crafts in the past. I read a lot, always have, but do a lot of my reading on the internet these days.
I spend more time on things like cooking than the average person, which is partly hobby, but mostly a desire to eat as well as possible for as little as possible. I've become a pretty good cook over the years. Cooking is very time-consuming, it takes a lot of my "spare" time, actually.
I find that I slack off though even from hobbies, and this leads to guilt on my part because I am not being "productive". This "productive" thing is very deeply embedded culturally, even in someone who bucks the pattern to the degree I do. In recent days though, I have been reasoning with myself, that if I am self-supporting (I am!), responsible (I am, pathologically so), etc, then really, if I am not bored (I NEVER am) and am keeping myself busy and engaged with the world, then who cares what I am doing?
I feel this guilt though, that since I am so blessed with time (even though I have carefully designed my life to give it to me), I should be "doing" something with it. But really, I don't have to. I can, and maybe I will, but I don't have to, and I need to absorb that. I think that just living this life can be an example to others, and that can be my big project. I am encouraged in stumbling across this site, which I found a few months ago, to know that the movement (is there a movement?) might be gaining a bit of momentum.