Do you ever worry about the amount of time that is lost by the frivolous indulgences we have? I’ve been known to sit on my balcony and simply stare at the sky, sometimes it feels like it’s for hours. Is that lost time? At the end of the day, you curl up in front of the TV and watch some so incredibly inane sitcom that you can’t remember the plot 10 minutes after you change the channel. Is that lost time? How about sleeping, or resting when your body is prone and your mind is turned off. Is that lost time? My answer to all of these questions is an emphatic no!
When I’m sitting, staring on my balcony, my mind is constantly in motion. Story ideas, post ideas, quips, would that work for a poem or is it more of a short story? My mind is percolating some new idea. It is very rare that I can ever turn it off. On my desktop is a file called In Progress. It is where I put the bits, I can’t make grow but I feel they are worth saving. There are two short stories in there and a poem. There used to be three short stories but after several years of it sitting in that file, I had an epiphany. And I wrote one of my sweetest love stories. It still makes me cry. I am such a wimp!
We lead busy lives. We work hard, we play hard and we live hard. We need downtime to recharge. And let’s face it, we invented time so we can’t lose it even if we tried. It’s always creeping up behind us and screaming that something isn’t right. We are expected to be somewhere or something must be completed forthwith.
Our minds are constantly being bombarded with input. Faces, names, advertising, directions, the list is endless. But we need time to sort out what has been imported. We read, we hear, we feel and we see. Now we have to unscramble it and have it make sense. Sometimes that is easy to do and it’s done almost instantaneously, other times it requires a little more thought. And that thinking requires us to stop. Have you ever gone to bed with a problem nagging in the back of your mind only to wake up with a solution in front of you? That’s because you turned off and let things work naturally. Our minds and our bodies are incredible tools but they need time to recharge.
Many years ago, I knew a woman who read Harlequin romances on a near constant basis. I have never cared for that particular genre but she said it gave her an escape that did not require her to think. She was an incredibly busy woman with a business, a husband and two children. She was constantly on the go. But the books she read took little time and little effort and it gave her a release that she had not been able to find elsewhere. It was not lost time to her.
As a species we are not built to always be running in top speed. We are not automatons. We will burn out and so many do. And perhaps that is the lost time.