I lay atop my bed, back as flat as a board, outstretched arms lying above my head, legs bent ninety degrees at the knee hanging off the edge. I’m not asleep, but I’m not entirely conscious; or I’m too conscious. I can’t tell the difference between the two.
I’m stuck in limbo between two worlds.
A million and one thoughts run through my head as I struggle to comprehend any of them. The idea of acting upon even a single one frightens me to the point in which I continue doing nothing. Ten, fifteen, then forty-five minutes pass with only minuscule movements indicating to any outsider that I’m not dead.
To most, myself included, it would appear I’m wasting time. I’m not being productive. I’m not heading in the direction of my goals. I’ve read it and heard it thousands of times, “Don’t waste a minute of this precious life.”
That one phrase creates an enormous amount of pressure eliciting a defensive response in which I proceed to shut down and do nothing. It’s overwhelming.
How do I know I’m not wasting a minute of this life? How do I know I’m making the right choices? What if I do end up wasting my time? There are different responses and answers to all of these questions, many of which would say that it doesn’t matter what you’re doing as long as you’re following your heart, your passion, your desire. Fuck.
That doesn’t lighten the burden one bit. Now I have to know my passion, what my heart wants, and my deepest desires. I understand the underlying reason why people say “Don’t waste a minute of this precious life.” It’s meant to act as a catalyst; a wakeup call to stop doing the minutiae we mindlessly drum through day in and day out and start following our dreams. It’s sound advice, but also unrealistic.
I know firsthand that pursuing your dreams doesn’t mean the universe magically lines up all the pins for you to knock down in one fell swoop. You will meet obstacles. You will face adversity. You will want to quit. You will have to do things you don’t want to do.
I’m not overjoyed by my current means of income: I remodel homes. I love working with my hands, but I don’t like dealing with the daily client bullshit. So what if I just quit tomorrow to pursue my passion? First, I would have to figure out that passion. Second, I would be broke within thirty days; unable to pay bills or put food on the table. It would be rather difficult to focus on my passion if I can’t even eat.
How does one combat or find alternatives to the pressure, self-imposed or external, of not wasting a moment of this precious life?
It begins with understanding that there will be moments that feel wasted. There will be times of uncertainty where we don’t know what path to take or what move to make next. But it’s all a matter of perspective. I agree, this life is precious and as far as I know we only get one go at it. I want to enjoy the time I have on this planet as much as possible. I just don’t want the feeling that I have to constantly monitor or calculate whether each moment I’m living or about to live is being spent productively or is being wasted.
I believe the best thing we can do is appreciate. Be grateful for each moment, wasted or not. Because we are fortunate enough to even have a moment to waste. Not everyone is that lucky.
Spend your time as you wish. Don’t feel guilty about having more or better opportunities than others. If that concerns you, then help the less fortunate. But I believe a better way to honor those who have less is to appreciate what you have even more. Seize the moment, or let it slip away. I don’t believe one is better than the other, they’re just different.
For everything you have missed, you gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Enjoy The Journey
Photo credit (creative commons): VinothChandar