No time for junk pursuits
“Let’s watch a movie,” said my partner. “Sure,” I replied, and we plonked down in front of the screen. The movie was so awful it was like eating junk food.
Afterwards I felt guilty. As a mother, daughter, friend, sibling and woman balancing three jobs, study and domestics, I have so much to do, including sleep, that it’s of great misery to me I didn’t just get up and walk away. I think we all go through that.
I had big reader response to a line in a recent column: that we are not time-poor — rather the problem lies in how we use time. During downtime, instead of doing nourishing things many of us fritter the hours away, often in idle procrastination. But it isn’t just avoidance that chews into our lives.
I kept a diary of all the wasted time to shock myself. I broke it down for an average day of, say, 14 hours. Time on telephone helping a friend through issues: 30 minutes. Time really spent helping through issues was 10 minutes; 20 minutes was devoted to gossiping about things we’ve said to each other 100 times — a junkfood conversation.
There was a petty argument with my partner that wasted energy; 30 minutes of the same repetitive tape, no resolution, getting nowhere. Junk-food arguing.
Plenty of junk-food surfing while working. As in highly forgettable. A video about where cats really go at night (sweet, but really, Ruth?); photos of houses with zillion-dollar bathrooms; story on the stuff people leave on planes; the danger of flea bites; how badly some celebrities have aged (and cosmetic surgery disasters); a video on scariest mountain walks; a TV rerun of Judge Judy about a bitch-fight in a carpark; Facebook and pointless emails. Electronic rubbish-food took up over an hour.
With a few more gossipy calls and unnecessary texts, emails and posts, let’s say I wasted about two hours on junk-food life, equivalent to a full day a week.
I’m not saying we need to be serious. Heavens no. As a hedonist, I recommend giggling time, getting tipsy, partying, schlock films, friendship and silliness. If it’s joyous and helps you unwind and regenerate, go for it. But many of us just flop about not really getting nourishing fun or rest, or bonding time with a friend, being creative or feel-good hormones.
Rather we’re procrastinating, blobbing, feeling guilty, vegging out in front of bad TV; complaining about kids and partners. My Indian totem name should be “Lolling Bear”.
As I got up from the couch my partner quipped: “Well, there’s two hours I’ll never get back again!”
Too aptly spoken.