The Eagles have a classic song, Wasted Time.
It’s a smooth song with Don Henley singing about the bitterness of what might have been wasted time when faced with the regret of a lost relationship.
(That’s not the best video, but the song and the music are excellent. I’m not sure if the Eagles actually have a YT channel.)
The song, Wasted Time, is a song of regret.
Because time is everything.
If you’ve lost money, you can get it back.
If you’ve lost something from your youth, you can buy it back at an antique shop or on eBay.
Even if you’ve lost a relationship with someone, another person or something can come fill that void. Maybe not the same way, but you can move on.
But time… time is the only thing you cannot get back. Time is everything, and wasted time is one of life’s biggest regrets.
Seth Godin calls it Borrowed Time.
All of us are on borrowed time. There are no refunds and there are no guarantees.
At some point, the only time you’ll have to worry about is the time you’ve wasted.
I wrote about this once in a post called Losing My Marbles.
It’s essentially the same thing. Trying to make the most of the borrowed time we have so that we do not regret the time that we wasted.
You can’t get around it. Everyone wastes time on things throughout the course of one’s week. Here are some of the biggest time wastes I see:
- Sitting in traffic on the way to work
- Playing games on our phones to pass the time
- Sleeping in
- Drinking in excess
- Complaining, whining, and gossiping
- Watching Fox News or CNN
- Bitching about the President (or past Presidents)
- Doing other people’s work or chores
- Spending more than 10-15 minutes on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
- Watching TV in excess
I could go on and on. I have excluded items that some might consider “keys to success.” That is not what I am referring to. I am referring to wasting time that leads to regret.
And, it’s not that any one of these things will shipwreck your life. Like I said, we all do things to waste time. So maybe the initial goal should be to waste less time.
One of the best doctors I know of, Dr. Orr in Texas, once said, “All things in moderation.” For example, it’s okay to eat carbs, just in moderation. Or, in this case, it’s okay to watch TV, just in moderation.
Rather than cutting out Facebook, TV, or whatever cold turkey, just scale it back and focus upon wasting less time. Maybe later, you’ll make the decision to remove it all together.
This May I turn 56-years old. I definitely feel like I have moved into Seth Godin’s “Borrowed Time.” The days and moments become more precious and I have become acutely more aware of my wasted time.
My Job. It’s consuming. It consumes the best time I have to be with Traci, family, and friends… and fishing. They get the leftovers.
Anyone could do my job. It will be there long after I’m gone. I’m not making a difference except to bring home a paycheck and benefits for my family.
For some, that may sound good enough. My marbles are growing fewer… time for a change.
Phone Games. This is probably my biggest time waster. I have played some of the same stupid games on my phone forever. While I love games, these games we play on our phones completely disengage our brains from the moment and from those around us. They are quite the drug!
I like books so much better anyway… so why do I waste my time on phone games??
Being Fat and Out-of-Shape. This is a huge one… literally! I limit everything I do by being overweight. I am currently about 100 lbs heavier than I was in college. That is simply un-be-liev-able! I have become comfortably numb with my current condition.
Eight years ago I was running… running freaking half-marathons! Now I couldn’t jog to the corner.
Speaking of borrowed time… how much longer until I have a heart attack? Am I waiting for the “big one” to be my wake up call so I can finally lose weight and get back in shape? What if the big one is the big ONE?
Those Are My Big 3
Those are the big three things that result in my wasted time and the things I need to change. Easy enough:
- Delete the games off my phone. Dumb down my phone and get rid of so much of the crap. I just have to be smarter than my phone, rather than settling to disengage as the minutes and hours click by every day and week.
- Start applying for the jobs that enable me to provide for my family and do the things that create great moments. Take action on this and be relentless until I find the opportunity that allows me to not waste the best time I have – and giving that best time to the things I value the most.
- Change my diet RIGHT NOW and stop being such a WUSS!! I start on a diet and whine and bitch because I can’t have a cookie, a piece of pie, or a whole pizza. It’s time to retrain my body to love and crave the right things.
- Get my butt moving. Get strong. Hit the Bowflex Max Trainer we have in our front room. Use those weights. Once you’ve dropped the necessary pounds, hit the streets again and get the marathon item off your bucket list.
The thing is… I’m miserable. I am physically and emotionally miserable with the days, weeks, months… and Lord help me, even the years I am wasting right now.
So why do I wake up and do it all again every day? Why do I wake up – no change – and waste another 24 hours?
It reminds me of the passage of Scripture from Proverbs 23:
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaints?
Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
30 Those who linger over wine,
who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup,
when it goes down smoothly!
32 In the end it bites like a snake
and poisons like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange sights,
and your mind will imagine confusing things.
34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
lying on top of the rigging.
35 “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt!
They beat me, but I don’t feel it!
When will I wake up
so I can find another drink?”
I may not be drinking red wine… but the misery of the wasted time and moments of my life have me feeling the same way…
“When will I wake up so I can play another phone game, waste another day at my job, or eat a bunch of crap?”
I’m reaching the point where the only time I have is to worry about is the time I’ve wasted.
So… am I now motivated enough to make the change? I would say yes, but only time will tell.
[update 4/21/21 – since writing this post, I have deleted all games, resigned from my job, launching a new business, travelled to spend time with my family, planned a getaway with my wife, and dropped 30+ pounds. Movin’ in the right direction. Boom!!]