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...wherein our heroine makes a potentially unpopular proclamation:

Monday, May 13, 2013

I agree, in theory, that we should make our lives count, and that we shouldn't always be putting off until tomorrow, etc. I *do* believe there's no time like the present for tackling issues like health, weight, exercise, even drinking a glass of water. Moreover, we *should* be concentrating on making our world a better place for those who dwell thereon.

However, I'm getting a little...overwhelmed? all the sayings about making every single moment count towards our one precious life. Don't the people who say these things ever...I dunno...take a long shower? Take three whole minutes to decide between navel and regular oranges? Press the snooze button on the alarm? Read the funnies in the newspaper?

These things that make up the minutiae of daily life don't seem to be contributing much to saving the planet, personal evolution, helping others or doing anything a darned bit of good. They could all honestly be labeled a "waste of time." But seriously, am I the only one who sees these minutes as the real fiber of life?

Long baths, snooze buttons and newspaper funnies (insert your own favorite time "wasters" here) make us the individuals that we are, and it is those individuals who can make a difference in the world. I suspect even Mother Theresa occasionally pondered what to put on her oatmeal (and probably chose nothing, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make here.)

If I truly had to evaluate whether every moment of my life was contributing in some way to my own good, let alone the overall good of all mankind, I think I'd forever be frozen in place. And that inability to move in *any* direction, because of the constant self-evaluation, truly would be a waste of time.

East or west, north or south? Buy this or that item? But what about fair trade? What about my own finances? What about sustainability? Nothing grows here in the winter, so what happens to eating locally? Juice!...but the juicer is made in China. Hydrofracking may ruin the environment, but if it doesn't, the many unemployed might find good jobs, which would support local sustainability. Wait, shouldn't I be writing deathless prose instead of griping on Spark People?... But what about washing the dishes?

I guess my point here is that people are composed of many parts, and some of these parts delight in "wasting" time - indeed, it defines them. I'm not advocating that we all blow off our good deeds and our healthy habits, but a day spent drinking tea and watching Hoarders reruns isn't something we should feel guilty about. Yes, there probably are folks who endeavor to make every minute count, who leap from bed every morning and head out to slay the dragons of the unfortunate, but we mere mortals don't stand a chance of living up to the standards set by these paragons - and I'm not sure even paragons always meet their own standards.

So I'm finished feeling guilty.

I'm just sayin'.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    My mom sure had it right! LOL

    She always said that you can't get water from a dry well, that it needs time to replenish... She was a sister and daughter, a wife and mother, the most welcoming hostess to anyone in need, and the most compassionate registered nurse ...she poured more water on more dry souls than any one I know.

    I think that's what you've all discovered. The time we spend with ourselves-- that is what gives us the things we need to spend time on others. And on the world.

    Thinking about how short life is, how much there is to do and experience it... I think the real waste of time is just not doing SOMETHING, finding the joy or peace in it, and SAVORING IT!... Even washing dishes can be an enriching experience if we have the attitude, right?

    You really hit on something here, and I think it struck a chord with a lot of us! LOL
    Kathy emoticon emoticon
    1729 days ago
    and very well said it was too.

    I've always read the articles about how to save a few pennies every day and now I too wonder, yabut? (as my old pastor used to say).... There are some things that do cost money but so what, why do we have it if not to get things we need or long as we have enough...
    No more guilt!!!! emoticon
    1735 days ago
    Oh my stars.. you are killing me.. no, really.. my abs are on fire..and this belly laughing HURTS! It overwhelms me a bit too if you must know.. I was musing the other day about what would happen if everyone really did quit eating all the processed foods.. and how in reality, it would lead to mass chaos.. can you imagine every fast food place closing down? all those people out of work?? and my mind just kept going down that path.. it's good to know I"m not the only one! You SO rock my friend!
    1736 days ago
    Clearly, the heroine's proclamation is not unpopular at all emoticon
    And I'm right on board with it too. You see, I used to be one of those people who berated myself if I wasn't spending every waking moment trying to make the world a better place. This, it turns out, was the real waste of my time. I was so obsessed with looking out that I forgot to look in - to check in with myself - and I got stagnant and stuck as a result. Stunted people are not making the world a better place, IMHO. I didn't get un-stuck until I slowed down, stopped trying to save the world, and started saving myself. Now, what I have to offer the world, even though it's no longer my every waking moment, it so much richer and more wonderful.
    1739 days ago
    Extremes are usually a sign that a person is following the letter of a statement, but not the spirit. I think a lot of the OCD revolving around "living in the now" isn't quite on the mark.

    But maybe it's just me...
    1739 days ago
    I find that I do a lot of good decision making during time wasting activities.

    I have "wasted" about ten hours on here during my decision making process to become a runner and another five finding runners to make as friends so I could learn from and be inspired by them! Is that wasting time? Probably not. I'm old enough and have enough health and mobility issues so that I had to put some serious thought into what I wanted to do. I've taken serious college classes in anatomy, physiology and exercise science that didn't get me to the decisions I've made lurking around people's blogs.

    I do a lot of good thinking doing menial labor, the kind I grew up hearing an educated person didn't do (if he or she could afford hired help). But I solve serious problems digging in the hardest, most compacted dirt. The harder and more difficult the work, the more problems I solve. Conversely, I also solve them sitting in a bath tub until the water gets cold. Both of these have one thing in common: I have shut out everyone else and am only in my own head.

    And I feel so much better about the world after I play ridiculous games with my poodle. The more ridiculous, the better. If I get down on all "fours" and pretend to be a dog with him, he is just delighted and that makes us both happy.
    1739 days ago
    lol , who says those things are 'wasting "time? aren't those people who want us half dead , working for them as zombies?nobody has to change the world , save the planet and sacrifice himself for humanity . somebody already did that. the only thing that we should try to change for the better is ourselves. and I'm sure a long shower and taking the time to breathe and look around us will do more than sweating our lungs out working or working out. I think modern times are eating our life away, we waste too much time working for a little comfort and forgetting the important things in life. we don't know what really counts in our lives . maybe all the buildings we built are zero compared to a kind word said to our sad neighbor in a rainy day. I confess that all those go -go things make me wish to sit on my b*tt and not move a finger, I usually ignore them
    1740 days ago
    loved reading the blog AND all the responses, deserves to be a "featured blog"
    1740 days ago
    This blog popped up on my Friend Feed, and when I read it, I thought it was wonderful. You wrote so beautifully and really expressed something that I think we all feel so well. I'm clicking "I Liked This," because, well, I did. =)
    1740 days ago
    Navel gazing isn't just about oranges. I think people who think up those life slogans have humanity's best interest at heart but those slogans can often make one feel guilty or inspired, depending on how we handle guilt I suppose.

    My favorite time wasters are not time wasters at all as it turns out. First of all I spend a lot of time on Spark and I just got a lovely note with a goodie this morning that made me cry. I am important to a few people here and they tell me so on a regular basis. How is that a waste of time? I love to play Scrabble on Facebook and have many games going. I do it because I'm exercising my brain. Not a time waster at all.

    I think if most of us tried to make every minute count there would be a lot more anti anxiety meds being doled out by doctors globally.

    Tonight, when my Pookie gets home we are going to eat dinner in front of the TV and watch the shows we love - Big Bang Theory and Mad Men. It's called "resting" not wasting time. And lordy knows we could both use some extra rest over here. We've been working HARD!!
    1740 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/15/2013 11:04:36 AM
    'Down time' is what I call it, and to me it's a necessary part of life. There are some days when the body and/or the spirit just doesn't have what it takes. That's when I will watch a whole afternoon's worth of Hoarders - and just zone out for a while. No thinking is involved, just healing and resting.

    Also, my soul is restored by those smaller private stolen moments that you mentioned: taking that long shower, or stopping to admire something beautiful, petting the purring cat on my lap, letting the tea steep, savoring someone's written words, lingering with a favorite memory.

    I agree these are all important parts of our lives - and help to define us.

    Guilt? Never!

    1740 days ago
    It's all perspective, isn't it? Yesterday I wanted to get my daughter signed up for summer camp (which is still 6 weeks away). I picked her up from school and we stopped at the doctor's office to get the paperwork. Then we COULD have made a mad dash to the camp office to get there before it closed OR we could and instead enjoy the beautiful gardens next door to the doctor's office. Sometimes watching a squirrel is more important than that mad dash, and YES we smelled the flowers too.

    The camp office will still be there tomorrow or next week.

    Certainly don't think anyone here will say we wasted our time.
    1740 days ago
    When we spend a lot of time feeling guily we spend les time feeling strong, gratetful for what we do have. We worry about little things and stress ourselves about every imperfection.
    Sometimes wasting time is an easy way for ui to relax and unwind.
    1740 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/14/2013 8:44:00 PM
    whoo hoo girl.. I Love it. I Love to spend a rainy day in bed reading and nothing more..

    While I do care about the earth and others .. I realize my limitations and do enjoy the moments of nothing or "time wasters" I can't go 24/7 my mind can but my body can't ..

    Nothing feels as good as a nothing kind of day. I have them and don't feel guilty. I do what I can for human nature .. but don't obsess like it is my job..

    Great Blog..
    Hugs ,
    1741 days ago
    What is a "waste of time"? For me it doing something I do not like, want to do, or am forced to do. My last job I was forced to sit in an office for 4 days a week doing nothing but waiting for a phone call or someone to stop in. Rarely happened. I was working 3 days until someone got the bright idea that we needed to open up one more day "just in case" someone would want to visit. I was bored and out of my mind. Needless to say I left the job. It was a waste of my time and their money. I would have been happier to work one day a week. It felt like prison.

    But having the freedom to do the things I enjoy and want to do makes taking long showers if I feel like it (and can afford it) is a great idea. Watching movies or shows that entertain me regardless if it just Hoarders or a film epic is my choice. Having that CHOICE is what makes things a waste of time or not. Having a job you enjoy gives you you hate takes freedom away. So enjoy your freedom. THAT IS NOT A WASTE OF TIME.
    1741 days ago
    I really loved this blog. I'm more of a be present in every moment rather than a seize every moment kinda gal. I used to feel guilty about wasting time but I've changed a lot in the last couple of years and now I take my time and really soak in life. I've never been happier.
    1741 days ago
    Fantastic blog!!!!!

    My husband and I recently had a conversation about how hard it was to be "good," and how the standard seemed impossible to reach! We'd never make it as vegans, can't always afford grass-fed, non-GMO, free-range, organic, made in the USA, etc. etc.

    But we decided that we can be good enough. emoticon Heck, just think how many trees I saved by switching to Kindle books and magazines!!

    And I agree completely that our time wasters define and sustain us! I'm not solving the world's problems when I'm watching Downton Abbey, but I don't care!!
    1741 days ago
    As a person who doesn't give a rat's patootie about changing the world, either for better or worse, because the world is what it is, I agree, you should NOT feel guilty for "wasting time" taking a long shower. And if the goal is to "seize every moment" and a long shower beings you peace and comfort, then how is it wasting time? emoticon
    1741 days ago
  • MISSLISA1973
    Good for you for no longer feeling guilty. I read some of the inspirational sayings ("When you feel like you cannot go another step, just run,") and the like, and I think similar thoughts. I think about making every moment count, including moments that may not save the world, but that refresh me to do more with my "save the world moments." I can manage to see the absurdity of taking some of those inspirational phrases too literally. Where I struggle more is realizing the absurdity of comparing myself to those who do seem to live those crazy sayings. Why are other people my age doing this great thing or that great thing and generally being amazing, while I am overweight, struggling through school, and barely making ends meet while living in a one-bedroom apartment? I forget that their journey is different than mine and that is OK. Thanks for the reminder that some of us are Mere Mortals. emoticon

    emoticon Lisa
    1741 days ago
    Uhhhhh, let's see...loooooooooong soaks with repeats on the hot water and a good book, stopping on the way home to look in on a friend, taking more time with said good book at some other point in the day, spiritual retreats, get comfy + close my eyes + zone out with Esperanza Spalding's spectacular music, head off to parts unknown with no agenda...oh, I could go on.

    Some food for thought, "3 Ways to De-Clutter Your Life and Live Passionately:"
    1741 days ago
    Yep, I think you've got it dead in the black. We all need to do what we should to take care of ourselves, our family, and neighbors. Part of that is just doing "nothing" sometimes, whatever that is. Me, I've got 2 cats snuggled up in the recliner with me and do I feel guilty? Nah... emoticon
    1741 days ago
    Great blog! I love sleeping in and staying in my jammies all day sometimes. I also used to feel guilty about it, but I just don't care anymore and I'm tired of fighting my nature. This is who I am... deal with it!
    1741 days ago
    Well said,been relaxing since lunch:)

    By the way,my husband and I love the Mother Theresa comment! emoticon
    1741 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/13/2013 11:44:08 PM
    Hi there have you always been a philosopher or is it just you sitting at home doing nothing. I cannot think you ever do nothing.
    i have to be busy all the time otherwise I call it a waste of time. HUGS Dear one Pat in Maine.
    HUGS and much Love Pat emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1741 days ago
    My idea of a good time waster-bad movies on the Science Fiction channel, and old japanese monster movies, ie" Godzilla, Mothra.
    1741 days ago
    I worked for one of these people who made every moment count. Of course he was the one who decided what was worthy to do. LOL. He was a genius in some respects but an idiot in others. At some point you have to just please yourself and not worry about others. You will never please them. They will decide that you are wasting your time gardening, or reading or playing the flute because it doesn't interest them. I've always liked to be thought of as someone who plays well alone and sometimes well with others depending on how we both feel on that given day. LOL.
    1741 days ago
    Love this blog!

    I work hard to stay on track and maintain all my good healthy habits. I belong to teams with incessant challenges and I'm currently logging my daily steps in no less than 5 different places. I do calf raises and squats while I brush my teeth. I do kegel exercises at red lights. If I linger in a steamy bathtub, it's only because I'm simultaneously soaking the hard water stains off the tile. I think I'm loosing my mind.

    You are my hero.
    1741 days ago
    Omigosh, I feel good to be snuggling with the puppies for no good reason!

    Beautifully said!
    1741 days ago
  • LIZZIE888
    So beautifully said.

    And power to the joy of the aimless.

    I would go further. I would say all this boundless optimism we're all supposed to exude causes us naught but grief. While not wanting to promote pessimism, there is a great deal to be said for having modest ambition and perhaps reining in those wild hopes, for it's having those hopes repeatedly dashed, as hearts are broken, ambitions are thwarted and our own mediocrity is reflected back to us, that leads us to despair. I think we should revel in the ordinary and stive to be satisfied with the plenty we already have, we already are.

    Are we all unique little snowflakes dancing in the storm of life? Undoubtedly. But the thing about unique little snowflakes is they all look the same!
    1741 days ago
    I, GF, totally agree with you!!!
    1741 days ago
    I agree, nothing wrong with slowing down and enjoying life, and sometimes, just doing nothing is the best thing to do.
    1741 days ago
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