Wasting Time

Have you ever looked up at the stars at night, wondering just how unfathomably far away they are?  Doesn’t the brevity of human existence relative to that of the planet, let alone the universe, seem virtually incomprehensible?  And don’t universal facts like how we are technically always seeing into the past just fuck you right in the mind?

IDL TIFF file

Hubble Ultra Deep Field – Set up to view an apparently dark empty area of space, the Hubble telescope captured this image of nearly 10,000 galaxies, some over 10 billion years old.

We are but tiny people, a species of many, occupants of a small planet, of a single solar system, of a single galaxy, of a still-growing universe full of billions of other galaxies just like our own.  If that doesn’t have the power make one feel small and insignificant, I don’t know what else would.

Though my goal, of course, is not to make anyone feel those things.  However, I could argue why they are merely a reality we should gladly embrace, but I won’t get into that just yet.  My main point here is that as small as we are and with as little time as we have, there is no good reason not to spend it exactly how we want, doing whatever we’d  like, assuming pure intentions.  There is no good reason to spend any of it unhappy or inhibited.

If anything should be viewed as small and insignificant, it is our “problems” and our worries.  Problems like having to upkeep the lawn, not knowing what kind of car or flat screen TV to buy next, or not having the right shoes to go with a certain outfit; and worries about things like how to con your way up the corporate ladder, what’s happening with your stocks, when and where you will buy a big enough house to impress your peers (I mean start a family), or even what to make of your very distant retirement.  These things don’t matter.  They never have, and they really never will, especially when you look at the big picture and realize that we are the sole resolute creators of practically all our problems.  We’ve convinced ourselves of their importance and have consequently warranted thorough attempts at “fixing” them.  But these attempts will always prove futile; there are no solutions, because there are no problems to begin with.

When you attempt to consider the grand scheme of things – and by that I don’t mean simply the state of our world, but the grand encompassing scheme of all things – you can’t help but realize what a beautiful blink of time we have; how time is the only thing we truly own.

To waste or kill time should therefore be considered a greatest sin; an intentional demolishing of the most historic remaining ruins, a mass deforestation of the most fertile and magnificent rainforests (oh wait, we already do that…), or, to put into even more relatable terms, a great burning of hard-earned money.

But to waste time, one must need to possess it in the first place.  It is truly a miracle to be alive at this very moment, biologically speaking; considering an average adult woman may carry up to a few hundreds of thousands eggs, and an average man can produce hundreds of billions of sperm cells.  Each of us has therefore overcome trillions or even quadrillions of odds just to have been born.  Whoa.

Should we consider ourselves so lucky?  I think so.  But do we honor this slim chance at life with gratefulness and ardor?  Maybe not.

With a widened perspective, how can we justify spending the majority of our time desperately working to make a living; and one we might not actually venture to experience?  It is as if we have forgotten or dismissed our own mortality.  The only time we will ever have should not be spent looking forward to the last twenty years, to the annual two week vacations, to the short weekend respite, or to the handful of afternoon hours reserved for ourselves before starting the whole thing over again tomorrow.

Though waste not, want not right?  Usually in reference to tangible resources, perhaps this saying can be also attributed to time.  Generally speaking, I believe it is those who willingly waste time and precious life that later cling to it the most and have the biggest regrets.  Maybe wisdom tragically comes too late, and so too does the realization of where priorities should have lied.  But if spent wisely throughout and with genuine enthusiasm, why shouldn’t life read like an adventurous romance, and one with a gracious ending?

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One response to “Wasting Time

  1. Pingback: Reveries on the Road – Part II | Univagabond·

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