It’s About Time: Go Ahead and Waste It

You could say I wasted time today; read the comics, a couple of useless articles in the paper, took the long way round to work, slowed down to watch kids of all ages play sports in the park. I’m not of the opinion that time is simply a commodity, that an idle mind is always the “devil’s workshop,” that apportioning a part of your day, your life, to “not being productive” is equivalent to letting leftovers turn to green fuzz in the fridge or losing a few quarters down a grate while fumbling to slide them in a parking meter, playing video games until smoke starts to come out of your ears.

I do take time seriously. I have a very healthy and active left brain. I’ve divvied up my days into chunks of 30 minutes on a daily calendar, tasks highlighted and crossed out in a spiral notebook. I’m a person who has an A+ rating on being prompt for business appointments, lunch with friends and zoom calls, maybe an A- on the latter. I like order in my life, but I learned many years ago that “dawdle” time makes all the difference in my mental health–that’s when I really started writing, that’s when I tapped into the deep well of slowing down and observing–an endless bounty of learning and awareness. These suspended, no-purpose, there-is-no-clock, moments, grant creativity an opportunity to poke its head out of my to-do’s and come up with some crazy stuff, fun stuff, stuff that injects some surprising and invigorating juice into my life.

I guess what I’m saying is, that I see a whole boatload of value in spending a certain percentage of my time (actually I could up that percentage a bit) staring out the window, circling under a palm tree to glimpse the bird warbling it’s song, soaking in the tub until the water turns cold, dozing on the couch at two in the afternoon, my mind a churning ocean of words preparing to be a poem.

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