I was digging through some boxes of old stuff, and I noticed something fascinating… Something that provoked a question about life that I’ve never asked before.

I stumbled upon my old report cards. After each subject was a space for a short comment. Every report card from 2nd thru 12th grade had two words describing my performance – WASTES TIME.

So I guess my teachers thought I wasted a lot of time. Looking back I suppose they were right – for me school was a waste of time.

But then I thought… Maybe I’m wrong… Maybe they were wrong too… I’ve never thought it through… I’ve never asked myself the question…

What exactly is a waste of time?

I’ve heard people say video games are a waste of time. I disagree. Video games can be the best of times.

A woman told me that she didn’t want to go to the lake with her boyfriend anymore because it was a waste of time. All he did was sit at the end of the dock with his cousin lighting bottle rockets and drinking beer. It sounds fun to me. I could spend a weekend that way.

As long as I can remember, I’ve always thought sleeping was a waste of time – a third of your life doing nothing.

My mother told me, that when I was a kid, I thought eating was a waste of time.

My two-year-old thinks going potty is a waste of time.

Some people say working hard and losing is a waste of time. Funny, I’ve learned more losing than I’ve ever learned winning.

The establishment said voting for Jesse Ventura was a waste of time because he couldn’t win. In retrospect, maybe it was a waste of time because he did win. But there is a lot to learn from his wasted time in office.

The hyper-scheduled nature of today’s world seems like a waste of time to me. I avoid scheduling my life as much as possible. When my calendar is full it seems like I have no time.

For the last month I have been trying to schedule two hours of unstructured play for my son and his best friend from school and we still haven’t found a time that works. The realization that we can’t find two hours for our 5-year-olds to play together without scheduling it several months in advance saddens me.

Which got me thinking… maybe all the time we spend trying to get everything done is the real waste of time, unless what we really enjoy is getting things done.

Do you ever stop and think… Why am I doing all this stuff?

Do you ever feel like your sole purpose in life is crossing things off lists and maintaining your calendar?

Maybe if you aren’t enjoying yourself, all your time is wasted. All that time we spend bored, frightened, angry, in a hurry, or unhappy, isn’t that the real waste of time?

For me, the time I value, is the time I have free after everything is done. The time I can spend reading, writing, playing games, walking in the woods, lighting a campfire, canoeing, or conversing with interesting people, all with carefree spontaneity.

Wasted time is relative, isn’t it?

Maybe that’s why my teachers all said I wasted time, because if I spent my time doing what I thought was valuable, I wasn’t doing what they thought was valuable. So I wasn’t really wasting anyone’s time, they just thought I was, because they didn’t take the time to understand what I valued.

Tell me what you think? I’d like to know.

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