The tradeoff with time makes life beautiful

I’m always in a race against time. Time for me is a luxury, so precious, that I am always afraid of losing it. What makes it even more valuable, is that once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. I have been living most of my adult life with the fear and guilt of time loss.

There is always a trade-off with time … The life lovers, the energy seekers, those that burst with eagerness and want to achieve a myriad of things suffer the most from this trade-off:  “I could do this right now, but I need to do that in this time” is what I occasionally find myself thinking, or “Is this the best use of my time?”. Until the last few months, I have been very strict with myself and denied myself the luxury of pursuing a proper hobby, for fear of either wasting time or not having time to delve into it. My perfectionist self would expect an immediate outcome to anything that I start and would only derive satisfaction out of something completed.

Everything is a waste of time and nothing is at the same time. Say this to yourself whenever you are doing something that you feel is purposeless and time-consuming or when you regret having wasted time on an activity that you think will not bring you any immediate benefit. In a perfect network of causality, everything is interlink, such that whatever you do, feel and experience will have an effect on something else that will ultimately bring you a benefit of some sort. It’s all about connecting the dots. Sometimes I regret not having worked in priority order or having procrastinated doing what I think had to be done. But then I look back and say to myself: “Ok, maybe I didn’t do that, like I planned, but I achieved this instead.” Allow that feel-good feeling of personal productivity which emerges from what you have done offset the mental discontent of what you have not done in that time.

Keep up with the restless time machine by living the here and now. Treasure every second of the present moment. There is no worse form of time loss than that resulting from regretting what happened in the past or worrying about the future. Embrace the passage of time by making yourself feel that you are making the most of it. Pack each day with meaningful work and life-enhancing activities. In this way, when you get to look back, you feel that you conquered the time that was shrewdly racing along.

For me a good day is a productive day – a day when I undertake many things that have to be done or that I want to do. You may think I’m a weirdo. Surely a good day must be a lazy one when you can just do nothing. But doesn’t happiness in this instance come from the way you feel about yourself? How do you feel at the end of a lazy day? I feel like I killed some time. Why would anyone kill something so precious? On the other hand, think how do you feel at the end of a productive day? I feel proud with myself, pleased with what I have accomplished and somehow, in a self-generating process, already bursting with latent energy for the next day. I think that the source of this energy is the same as that which you feel after completing a good workout. It comes from within you!

It’s All Good! The quick passing of time also needs to be viewed as an advantage. When you are in a difficult situation or want to escape from the incarceration of a bad moment, mentally distance yourself from the situation and remember how quickly time passes. Even if a bad situation feels like it is here to stay, the watercourse of time will carry with it any bad situation in its free flow. And when this happens, resist the inertia to swim after it. Let it go. Remember, there is no worse form of time loss than looking back and feeling regretful. When you’re overcome with negative emotions, just think about the fact that time passes too quickly to be worth spending it feeling angry, guilty or worried. Instead, be grateful that the bad moments have passed, are no longer part of the here and now and hope that they won’t happen in the future.

Always stay humble before your time. Acknowledge its scarcity. Be mindful that there is NOT a time for everything. This will make you want to max out all the time you’ve got to do the things that make you happy.  After all, what makes life beautiful lies in the gloriously good things that happen to us. It’s us who make those things happen and their cumulative outcome determine the quality of our lives. So cherish every moment and fill it with life.

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