That was my favorite sentence a lifetime ago. The inexperience associated with youth will make anyone say that I suppose. However, I haven’t said that in a long time. I took it out of my vocabulary, eliminated it rather because I couldn’t find any use in uttering said sentence. What a waste of time it would be to say over and over again that I wasted time! That would be the purest definition of irony!
Yes, I have wasted time in my life, countless of times, like any other human being walking this blue planet. In addition to time, I have wasted money, feelings, and so many other things. That is how life is. You cannot plan down to the minute what you are going to do, see, study, work, etc. Many factors affect our daily lives and wasting time is a part of life. We all waste time, intentionally or not.
Well, we love to say that we wasted time because a situation didn’t work out as expected. We went into a situation, whether transactional or personal in nature and things didn’t work out as planned. We got into a relationship and it didn’t end well. We got a job, but we got fired or were let go. We invested in an endeavour, but we lost all or part of our money. We were friends with people for a lifetime, but they betrayed us or mistreated us. We had a house and we lost it, I needn’t go on, you get my drift.
Once we are passed the anger and depression stages which are part of our grieving process (look up the 5 stages of grief, it is interesting), acceptance is the hardest one to swallow. Every time we look back, it slightly (or greatly) hurts. We start saying things like “I wasted time”, “Damn, I wish I could do things differently!”, “I messed up”, “I was wrong”, etc. Well, you are right. Yes, you wasted time. Yes, you messed up. Yes, if given half a chance and a time machine, you would surely do things differently. All that is true. Yet, today, it doesn’t matter, really. The past happened and you, me or even the Gods cannot change it.
Time flows in one direction like a river, never back, always forward inexorably. Time is constant, since it cannot be sped up or slowed down and it is detached from our daily shenanigans, time doesn’t care about us or anything. We can never gain more time or get the wasted time back. Moreover, as time goes on, we inevitably move towards our own demise, which is the surest thing that will happen to all.
So, thinking back and regret don’t help us much now, do they? Regret is the toughest virus to fight off; it messes with our minds but mostly because we haven’t made peace with what happened. We haven’t fully accepted what happened and we still wish to change the past. It is human, no one can be blamed for that.
Yes, you wasted time. Yet, what have you gained? What have you learned? What went wrong? How could you do to avoid that today? What would you do better if it happened today? These questions are essential to understanding oneself. These questions are critical, especially when asked using a critical brain, devoid of feelings because the latter cloud our judgment quite frequently. One must ask themselves those questions. It is the same as diagnosing an illness. Tests must be conducted, and questions asked, to get a better grasp of what the symptoms were so we can find a cure for the disease. The idea is to not repeat the same mistakes and to hopefully avoid saying “I wasted time”.
If we focus on failures and time wasting instead of lessons, we are bound to repeat the same mistakes. If we cannot be analytical, then we become prisoners of our feelings, which are, once again, anything but rational. I didn’t waste time, even if I wasted time as a unit of measurement whether we talk in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years or decades.
Yes, I wasted time, but I gained experience, I gained knowledge and I also gained self-knowledge. Of course, I wasted time, but I fucking learned about myself. I learned about my limits, my fears, my shortcomings, my way of handling stress and failure. I learned about resilience, if I have any, I learned about effort, I learned that I need to improve in many areas. I didn’t learn about everything, because I am still learning every goddamn day and, frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I still say “I wasted time” occasionally but I always smile afterwards. Yes, I wasted time. However, I know I am smarter, stronger and more resilient today than I was yesterday, let alone a few years ago. Yes, I wasted time but I always look at what I gained. I always find lessons within my failures. It took me a lifetime of “time wasting” to be able to detect the lessons within everyday life. It isn’t easy, it is painful and often, I feel shame for having failed at something. Yet, that will not stop me from learning and growing.
I could say that “I wasted time” for not writing more or more often and not publishing my texts all these years. Yet, all that time allowed me to learn and today I am mature enough to share my experiences in a healthy way.
So, I didn’t waste time. I was learning. I am still a student today.
May you be able to learn every day as I do. There isn’t a greater blessing.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now, smile and go on with your day.