“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing” – Annie Dillard.
It seems to me that we spend much, perhaps even most, of our lives waiting… and wasting time. I wish I could say that I’ve uncovered a groundbreaking plan to resolve this. Truthfully, I believe that the majority of people who claim to have such a plan are full of themselves. I think that all we can really do is try really (really!) hard to make the most of it.
I don’t have the answers for this one.
I spend about 3 hours a day in transportation. It hardly seems like a good way to spend irrevocable hours of my life. Now, I write while on the train, so it makes me feel a little better about these hours that were draining the soul out of me before.
Sometimes, the frustration is definitely difficult to conquer. When on vacation recently, I had a chance to remember just how much one day of time is worth. One day promises so much learning and adventure. One day is so full of life. One day holds the power to delve into great histories. How many days of waiting does it take to have a day like that?
This isn’t about time management. It isn’t about being productive. It’s about having a good time. As we age, we learn that having fun requires work! It’s so easy to put our feet up and wait for tomorrow… but what if tomorrow never comes?
The only answer I have to this dilemma that has confounded people since the beginning of time is simple: take a mental photograph. Ever since I was a young girl, I got into the habit of “capturing” special moments by looking around me, blinking, and imagining a camera shutter sound. It was my way of not only reminding myself of precious past moments, but also keeping myself intentional about creating new ones. Because of how often I had to leave family and friends behind, I was always especially attuned to how quickly time can slip through my fingers. Every day should carry something meaningful, because we are all worthy of meaning. Waiting all the time just isn’t good enough.
I try to infuse my days with moments of meaning, even when they are the most redundant of days. We can’t do the same things over and over expecting different results. Start small. Walk to work using a different road. Stop by someone’s office on your way to yours just to say “good morning”. Take your kids to a new park. Read something that lends fire to your spirit. Eat a strange food. Put on a different thinking cap.
Make today a little different from yesterday. I think that is the most important thing because I am starting to realize that most of us think of our lives in historic chunks, and the days end up blending into each other. The days are long, but the years are short. How much of our lives do we really remember?
Make today a little different. Change the pattern just a little.
I won’t stay “stop waiting,” because I haven’t learned how to do that myself. If you have a different answer or idea, please share it below!
And remember… we design our own luck!