The Joys (or is it horrors?) of Wasting Time

I feel irritable tonight, ready to snap at anyone who dares say a wrong word. My grumpiness comes from being angry with myself for having wasted time today. I look at what I accomplished, and I judge myself based on how much of what I expected to do (a lot) had actually been done (very little).

Today had not been productive. I am only now writing the blog which I intended to write earlier this morning. I did not find a way to become unstuck with the synopsis for my novel. And what about other things I wanted to do? Read blogs, look for more agents, send out more queries, write in my new book, spend some time with Dar. Nope, nothing, zilch, none.

Whenever I am aware of being mad at myself, I wonder why I need to judge myself so harshly. I mean, really, how does being critical serve me anyways? Then I realize that I am judging myself for being judgmental, and I laugh. But another day I catch myself doing it again.

After all, wasting time is sinful, right? At least, that is what I’ve been taught. My mother says that the more you do, the more time you have to do what you want to do. That sounds complicated, but think about it this way: On vacation, I lie on the beach, read a book in the sun and eat good food, right? Sunning, bathing, eating, reading equals a full and satisfying day. At home, I somehow manage to write, do homework with the kids, cook, wash dishes, walk the dogs, play with Eden, sit with Uri while he’s playing the violin and the clarinet, read to the kids, do the laundry, and read in bed and take a bath! How can that be? It’s because the more I do the more time I have to do what I want to do!

I get satisfaction from writing, but less from talking on the phone for two hours (which I did this morning), or from waiting for half an hour in front of the kids’ school and then for an hour and a half at the dentist with Uri. And even less from driving half an hour in each direction four times a day.

But as I write this, I wonder. Can’t I find satisfaction in these seemingly time-wasting activities? Can’t I find joy in sitting in traffic, or in spending an afternoon with my son at the dentist’s office?

Maybe it’s possible, but I’m not yet zen enough to remember this wisdom at the right time. I can see the ways I could have been more self-aware, compassionate, and mindful today while “wasting” my time. Smart after the fact, a friend aptly told me today. And yet it seems a transient smartness and goes away fast, before I can use it next time.

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Sigal Tzoore (650) 815-5109