Monday, June 07, 2010

time wasted

I just watched as two minutes of my life ticked away. I was heating a cup of water in the microwave for a cup of tea and just stood there dumbly quiet and unproductive for those two minutes. The sudden realization that I had wasted another two minutes was like being hit by a two by four to the head.
How often in my life have I done the exact same thing. How many minutes of my finite time in this life have I similarly wasted?

Waiting is one of the constants in everyone’s life. We wait for the light to change, we wait in line at the grocery checkout, we stand in line to buy tickets for the movie, we wait for the pot of water to boil on the stove, we wait for the cable guy to show up, we wait and wait and wait some more.
All that waiting is usually unproductive time that just slips away without our realizing it.

I don’t have a solution to the problem of wasted time other than to encourage myself to do something, anything, during those precious seconds. Read a magazine or a few pages of a book. Make that dreaded phone call. Grab a rag and wash a window. Teach the dog to sit and stay. The litany of possibilities is nearly endless if we would just put forth the effort. But we are seemingly ruled more by inertia than a need to just do.

Given that we have only a certain amount of time to use-- some of us are given a hundred or more years and some are gone before the umbilical cord is cut--our natural instinct would seem to be constantly active to fully use our time to best advantage. But ennui and boredom are the more common response to the passing of time. It’s easier to lament the gone minutes than to actively use them. It is far easier to intend than too actually do.

And while there will always be a certain amount of waiting in our lives out of sheer necessity, being aware of those waiting minutes is the first step on the road to productivity. Once we realize that just sitting and staring at the wall while waiting for the mail to arrive is not a good way to use our time, then we will ready to find a purpose for those seconds and minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and years and decades that we are given. No longer will we cry over the time wasted on the way. No longer will we rue the water flowing underneath the bridge. No longer will waiting
be a waste of time.

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