I used to drool at the idea of watching TV all day, like I would’ve offered to pay for it. One time I was dreading my job for a few weeks, and I literally prayed to get sick so I could just sit at home and relax in front of the TV. I just needed a day to do nothing. Then I got walking pneumonia, and that is another story. I digress…
Watching whatever I wanted all day long; it sounded so ideal. Then I had the chance to do so once we moved here and I was unable to find a full-time job, and it was not only depressing, but quite boring. So, besides the occasional Netflix binge when new seasons of random shows I’ve priorly binged watched, I usually don’t have the TV on much during the day. This was harder when we had full cable. Who doesn’t get sucked into a good Real Housewives marathon on a rainy day? But, after a lot of bored afternoons watching mindless television and sitting in my own couch of self-pity I realized to stay positive I need to stay productive. To stay productive I need to avoid watching daytime TV “just because.” I also need to avoid unconsciously checking Facebook, but that is another post. (Confession: before writing this post, I was actually at the “Deactivate Account” screen. Save me or push me over the edge, I’m not sure which I prefer!”)
This isn’t to say that I thumb my nose at daytime TV and, let’s be honest, I’m still in a great love affair with many primetime programs. One program I do like to watch during the day when I’m home and not working on a project is Ellen. I laugh, I cry, I learn things, and I dance. It sounds like kindergarten.
I hadn’t caught an episode in a while, but was able to see most of today’s episode and for the first time Arianna Huffington was a guest. She has written another new book (who hasn’t written a book these days?!) called Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.
There was a lot of the feel-good stuff associated with many self-help-ish books and more of the “to define your own success is the best sort of success” sentiment. Love that stuff, but we’ve heard it before. I’m jaded with these kind of motivational statements right now. I mean really there is having confidence and building your own version of success and then there is the red tape, the bullshit, and the lazy, entitled people who somehow got jobs that they stink at! (Hanging preposition, do I care? No.) The other week I overheard my supervisor and her co-worker complaining. This particular position is a very part-time job for me where I usually work independently and have no contact to people in the main office. I was in for a special project. They were complaining about having to go camping in BLOODY ENGLAND for free! I mean, who does that?! It was infuriating. Camping, England, and free — three of my favorite words in a sentence. Here I am, scraping to make my three jobs add up to the worth (financially and vocationally) of one job and I have to listen to that type of complaint?
No, I didn’t have to listen because I had my headphones. Thank. Goodness.
Back to Huffington and her new book. Her comments on Ellen obviously started some ideas and frustration marinating in my mind. One thing Huffington honed in on multiple times was the importance of sleep. I get plenty of that, so I had nothing to learn there. Yeah, yeah, yeah Arianna, give me the good stuff. Then she said the term Time Famine. Essentially the concept that we give so much of our time: Willingly or not, to worthy causes and selfish ones, to meaningful and trivial pursuits, to self-growth and to self-demeaning behaviors. This ends with most of us much of the time living in a time famine. We are always hungry for more time. We are never satisfied by the amount of time we have; we’d frequent the all-you-can-eat-time-buffet if it existed. I love this concept, and a couple years ago it would’ve bitch-slapped me in the face. But right now I have the time to think a little more about this concept and my first thoughts included, “Well isn’t it a slippery slope? What if you give none of your time? What if you devote all your time to things devoid of meaning, value, or positive contributions to your community? What if we become so protective of all our time, we miss opportunities to meet people, be helpful, etc.” Something like Time Extreme Couponers. Those people find great deals that we’re all jealous of (think of free time as the deal we’re jealous of), but at the end of the day they have a garage full of 72 bottles of apple juice, 150 tubs of mini toothpaste, and enough laundry detergent to wash the entire country’s clothes. What good comes of this saving and stockpiling? My analogy may be childish, but there are people who hoard their time and people who give it all away to the point of starvation.
When I think of success, especially now while I’m not employed at one full-time job, I think how I spend my time is one of the most important indicators for me to value (and evaluate) my personal growth. Time famine hasn’t struck our household on a consistent basis yet. I’m sure someday we will be in chronic time famine, but for now I’m going to focus on meaningful, productive, positive time with myself and those around me.
And in case any of you needed a pick-me-up after you started to dwell about the concept of time and your lack-thereof or waste of this is one of the things my sister did with her time this week. She’s the blond – you figure out which one is her.