Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Putting in the Time
Putting in the time doesn't equate to quality of life or happiness. Time is simply time, the passing of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decade, centuries... I've only recently come to realize this. I've always, like most people, celebrated making it through another whatever, but making it through isn't much to celebrate in most instances.
Time matters, but only if it is productive. Productive means different things given different situations. What I consider productive for my writing career isn't the same thing I consider productive for my relationships.
I've been thinking about time a lot lately. I've dedicated a lot of time to a lot of things that haven't necessarily been productive for the goals I've set, but they've kept me busy and given me a way to avoid things I didn't want to face. There are a lot of demands on the time we have, but time spent is not necessarily time spent well.
We celebrate the passsage of time as if time passing affects the quality of time allocated. Time passes whether it's happy time or sad time. We forget that sometimes. We stay miserable thinking that someday we'll have time to be happy. We remain stagnant thinking that someday we'll have time to pursue our dreams. We ignore those we love thinking that someday we'll have time to spend with them. We don't risk putting ourselves out there because we are waiting for just the right time. We shut ourselves off waiting for the someday to be happy when that someday should be today.
So many people I know work way too many hours at jobs they hate to pay for houses they don't have time to enjoy and trips they wish they could afford. Too many people stay in relationships that have already died because it's easier to stay than to take a risk pursuing the happiness they really want. Too many people pursue a career that has nothing to do with their bliss thinking that someday they'll have a chance to go after what they want. Way too often we spend way too much time putting in our time waiting on tomorrow for something.
Just putting in our time isn't going to do any of us any good. We have to see what we want and go for it. If we don't take those risks now, when are we going to take them? Someday is likely to be when we're sitting in the retirement home reminiscing about what we could've done if only we'd stopped thinking we would get to it someday. Someday is likely to be when we're on our deathbeds lamenting that we didn't take the risk when we were young enough to do it. Someday may never come.
If we find we're putting in our time and waiting on something to change, it may be us who needs to make the change happen. We grow complacent with life and decide that what we see is all we get. We stop trying to push forward, to dream, to achieve, to reach for something greater, to love with all our hearts, to seek out passion, to laugh, to smile, to care, to even desire. We get so caught up in the day to day that we forget time is passing by, and it's up to us to make every moment count. When we don't, we're the ones who lose.
We have a responsiblity to live our lives in a way that fulfills us without always waiting for someday to be happy. The decisions we must make to pursue lives worth living every day aren't always easy and sometimes may mean we make mistakes, but if we don't live our lives all we have is time passing. It will pass whether or not, we enjoy it.
I, for one, am tired of putting in my time waiting for someday to be excited about life. If I have to live it, I'm going to enjoy it. If I'm not enjoying it, I'm going to change it. I know life is full of the mundane and the necessary, but this also is our one and only opportunity to live it to its fullest.
When I'm enjoying life, I'm going to invite more of the joyful in. When life feels incredible and I'm surrounded by incredible people, I'm going to rejoice and stop looking for what might be better than that moment! Because that moment is the one I know for sure is mine to enjoy! Let's start now! Right this minute!
T. L. Cooper grew up on a farm in Tollesboro, Kentucky. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Eastern Kentucky University. Her poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared online, in books, and in magazines. Her published work includes a novel, All She Ever Wanted and four books of poetry. When not writing, she enjoys yoga, golf, and traveling. Currently, she resides in Albany, Oregon.