Inspired today by a writing by a friend that speculated on whether time is sometimes a waste when you reflect back on how you spent it…
My philosophy is that every moment you have, has value. No matter how important or trivial, profound or ridiculous they may seem. It all is part of our experience and that shapes and builds our lives. Even moments that we look back on and the time was painful or hard to bear teaches us things. They all create memories and whether they are positive or negative, they are part of what makes us who we are.
The things that we do with our time shows us, many times, what we won’t do with our time again… learning experiences. It can also show us how we want to spend more of our time. Teaching us where to place the most fleeting and unrecoverable commodity that we have… time.
It’s never a waste… a waste implies that it has no value and as long as we’re astute enough to collect knowledge from those moments… knowledge that will enrich our lives by helping us choose how to fill our moments, it’s never wasted.
The truth is, you will never get those moments back… and the sand will run through the hourglass all the same, regardless of how you spend the time, so you may as well spend it consciously and purposely and how you want.
When I was younger, I would finish every book or movie that I began. Partly stubbornness, partly a misplaced tenacity and partly guilt that I had to finish what I started. I spent many hours slowly and painfully trudging through bad writing and acting.. horrendous plots and stories that I had no interest in seeing the resolution of. Then, right around the time that I began practicing Yoga and meditation, I discovered the freedom of choosing how to invest my time. I still remember it was after a movie and I said out loud “well, that’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back” and I actually felt it. It struck me that I had, in my mind, wasted, two hours. At a time in my life when I had very little “me time” to begin with. Yet the truth is that those hours that seemed so “wasted” were in fact some of the best spent moments because of what they showed me.
So now, if I pick up a book that just doesn’t grab me after a solid try or sit down to a movie that bores me… I move on and find a different way to fill that time. Sometimes I still spend hours watching ridiculously bad movies – but it’s by choice (I love a B movie that is so bad it’s good!)… or I spend a day on the couch instead of out for a hike but it’s a choice, made with awareness that all of the moments of my life don’t have to be (and won’t be) filled with deep and meaningful epiphany-causing events. That every moment has value if it’s filled mindfully. My life is made up of trivial and silly and profound – all in a tangled mess that makes my life as awesome as it is. No one is to judge or decide whether my time is “well spent” but me… after all it’s my life and not anyone else’s.