By Carolyn J. Rose
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” Richard II
“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.” Walden
If I had a page for every squandered hour of my life, I’d have at least a hundred more novels to my credit. Some of them might be a waste of paper or download capacity. Some might be just about worth reading. One might be pretty darn good.
But life doesn’t work that way. So those wasted hours are just that—wasted, worthless, gone forever.
I’m not talking here about the hours given over to activities that are a normal part of our biology and/or the routine of life—sleeping, eating, bathing, grocery shopping, cooking, getting an education, etc. And I’m not talking about hours lost to events over which I had little or no control—sickness, surgery, storms, friends in crisis, family in need.
I’m talking about the hours left after subtracting all of that.
I chose to forfeit some of those lost hours—whiling them away watching mindless TV shows, driving endless miles to get no place in particular for events that, in retrospect only barely beat out watching paint dry, smiling through dinner and a movie on fix-up dates where it was obvious from minute one that there wasn’t a single volt of electricity between us. And I wasted many minutes wishing I was taller, thinner, and smarter, and lamenting rejection in all its many forms for all its many reasons. Those minutes are still accumulating.
I resent my poor time-management choices, but I hoard more resentment for those who intentionally squandered my time. I’m talking about bosses addicted to endless meetings with fuzzy agendas that expanded like accordions, professors who managed to take topics with the potential of raging wildfires and deliver lectures with no more heat than a smoldering chunk of charcoal, agents and publishers who held onto manuscripts for a year or more and forced me to ask for the rejection.
And I reserve much resentment for myself because I should have walked out or walked away.
So my resolution for the year to come will be to take more care with the time that’s left. I vow to kill less of it, to strangle fewer seconds, murder fewer minutes, and to find myself guilty of hour homicide less frequently.
Will I keep that resolution?
Only time will tell.