Fear...And Time - Part I

This last week a friend and I had a conversation about how we didn’t like the fact that we weren’t getting things done that were on our to-do list. Instead, we were doing a lot of scrolling through Facebook and going down rabbit holes of interesting things on the internet. We decided to make a pact – Media-Free Mondays for two Mondays in a row, and then we would have a conversation about our results. We got to decide each for ourselves what “media-free” meant for us. I’ll share about the results in a later posting.

The reason I bring this up is that we used the phrase “wasting time” in our discussion. Since I was already thinking about how fear shows up in our lives in relation to time, I focused on the language we were using. How do we waste time? Is it really possible? Is there something terrible about wasting time? Why are we so afraid of wasting time? Time passes, whether we use it or not, so how could it be “wasted”? It’s not something we own.

Every human being on the planet has the same amount of time in a day as the world turns on its axis – 24 hours. What if we changed our language from “wasting” to “using”? What if we re-thought what we’re really saying when we judge ourselves as “wasting” something rather than “using” it in a way differently than is expected of us, either by ourselves or someone else?

How do we define “wasting” time for ourselves anyway? Is time wasted when we don’t produce a physical, measureable result of some kind at the end of whatever time we’ve allotted to a task? What if we need to re-charge, relax, dream some daydreams or simply think of nothing? What if our brains are racing a mile a minute to figure something out while we stare off into the distance? Just because someone is using time differently than we are doesn’t necessarily mean the time is wasted. Same thing is true for ourselves – just because we don’t meet our own expectations for how we use our time doesn’t mean time is wasted. Sometimes that “wasted” time could really be a pause before a brilliant result. It could be a way to rest before a flurry of activity. It could be a way to gather our mental and emotional resources together before we expend them for a long period. It could be time for ideas to percolate before they bloom.

And then there is recovery: replenishing mental, emotional, physical resources, which may show up as being verbally or conversationally quiet, doing nothing, going nowhere, staring off into the distance, moving slowly, noticing itty-bitty things around us, playing, taking long, aimless walks. None of it is necessarily time-wasting – it can be life-enhancing.

How will you be using your time this next month?

Photo: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels


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