Wasting away

Something funny happens when you’re given free reign. The plans you’ve dreamt up suddenly dry up. You can’t quite remember what it was you were so excited about. You take your free reign and ration it, rationalizing each individual portion, attempting to savor it in a way that actually lessens the impact of your newfound freedom.

For example: given the hectic schedule of a working family with a 16-month old daughter, it always seems as though the time I need to take care of extracurricular duties – both crucial and not – disappears without a trace. It’s gone, sent away to another home, where it piles up and gets squirreled away.

Yet, when I find myself with a free hour or two, what do I do?

Nothing. I think of what I could be doing with the time, I make plans, I waste away my precious gift and end up with nothing to show for it.

It happens in every aspect of life. You know all of the things you might want to buy, but as soon as a $100 bill lands in your pocket, you’ve drawn a blank. You begin trying to justify each possible purchase, forgetting the fact that this gift – this freedom to choose – has broken your bonds with reason.

Spend it on ice cream. Spend it on clothes. Hell, buy some random coffee maker you know you don’t need but you think is totally cool and, while unjustifiable, is the type of thing you’d love to receive if you weren’t required to make the decision yourself.

Time. Money. Sometimes we find ourselves with extra – something we are required to use on ourselves and on ourselves only. And the most excruciating part about the decision is that many of us are hard-wired to be responsible, to make every minute worth something.

Take it from me – it’s okay to waste a minute here and there. That’s part of relaxing. That’s part of life. And if you don’t put certain things to waste, you never realize how important those things are in the first place.

This was lovingly handwritten on December 12th, 2008