Do You Spend Your Time Well?


♥ Have you ever wondered if you spend time well? That thought occurred to me after spending 4,000 weeks (80 years) on this wonderful planet. I spend endless hours watching mind numbing TV shows and too much time keeping up with world events. I cannot determine if I’m doing these things because I enjoy them, or because I’m searching for something to relieve the boredom. It’s almost as if I need the distraction, that I need something to make life more interesting. I don’t think that’s the reason because I can’t remember when I last experienced it. I keep a daily journal of my thoughts and activities and as I look back over them, I seldom see negative comments or signs that I’m not engaged in life. True, I do fiddle with my cellphone a lot and I take my iPad with me just about every place I go, but is that evidence that I’m fearful boredom will ensnare me due to not having something to do? I surely hope not.

I certainly get pulled away many times from whatever I’m concentrating on. It may be a familiar “ding” that signals a new email just popped into my inbox, or my cellphone playing Johnny Cash’s, “I Walk The Line”, alerting me to a new phone call/text message. Distractions are everywhere, all of them demanding my attention, requesting I do something or the other immediately. Is this the person I have morphed into, someone that’s so involved in today’s technology that life seems incomplete without it? I know that if I end up in the hospital for some unknown reason, none of those devices will care if I live or die. Only the people I care about and spend time with will care, so why am I not spending more time with them?

I think the answer is that it happens so slowly, sorta like the extra weight you gain, but goes unnoticed because it happens gradually. Will I change from a person who needs to be engaged all the time to one that values human contact? Has this modern way of living inserted itself into the deepest regions of my being, or is there still hope for me? The first step to changing your life is to recognize the need, and the second is to have the desire to make it happen. Sadly, I think I need gentle persuasion on the second part.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Now, that’s the place I gotta get to 😊.        

♥I read an article recently that said simply, if you have a negative mind, then you will have a negative life. I know people that fit that description (no, it’s not you), and the odds of them getting out of that rut in life are small.

I too have been in that rut and had to fight to get out, so I’m living proof that it can happen. It is so easy for negative thoughts to creep into our mind and infect us with a sourness that leaches into almost all of our actions. Friends slowly disappear and few appear to take their place, and we’re left wondering why we are lonely. 

It’s hard to sit down and figure out what’s happening in your life and why you’re losing so many people you enjoyed being around. In my case, I was divorcing my first wife and the stress of the process was definitely taking its toll. It took quite a few visits to a psychiatrist for me, with his help, to regain my normally positive outlook on life. Since those visits many years ago, I always attempt to be positive about whatever difficulty I am facing. Of course, the pandemic made that difficult to do, but I soldiered on, keeping the old chin up and dutifully practicing the Covid- safe things that Dr. Fauci encouraged us to do.

My wife and I have experienced a whirlwind of changes in the last six months and I must admit they were necessary. Moving into a retirement community and selling our home was huge. It required us to see old friends less often, and make new friends to take their place as active participants in our daily life. We now eat our daily meal in the dining room at 6pm with newly gained friends (Jerry & Ruth), unless either couple made other plans.

In our previous life, my wife and I always had dinner alone while watching TV. Now we eat with someone we enjoy being around, and the conversation is always lively and fun. Who knows, maybe eventually, we run out of things to talk about and just sit there, chewing our food, saying nothing, but I don’t expect that ever happening around Jerry & Ruth 😊.

I remember reading this story a while back: A scorpion asks the frog for a ride across a river. The frog is leery, but the scorpion points out that if he were to bite the frog, they would both drown. Finally, the frog accepts the logic and as they approach the middle of the river, the scorpion strikes! As they are drowning, the frog pleadingly asks why he did it, and the scorpion blurts out, “I just couldn’t help it, it’s’ in my nature.”

Looking back at some things that happened in my life, I can easily understand the scorpion’s reasoning. Recently, I locked the emergency key for the safe, inside the safe, and when the batteries for the keypad died, I was forced to destroy the safe in order to remove its contents. Why did I do something so intrinsically dumb? I just couldn’t help it, it’s in my nature!

I took my wife to the grocery store the other day and, on the way home, we were gleefully gabbing about something and suddenly I realized we were arriving at our old home, not the one we just moved to in April. By the time I turned around and went back, I had made an eight-mile loop. I just couldn’t help it, it’s in my nature. I could continue reciting similar occurrences, but I think you get my point.

Rene’ Descartes said, “Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power.” This quote emphasizes our thoughts are our own and If we have a bad idea, then it is our responsibility to make it better. We should not blame our bad decisions on someone else, strictly because we created the decision. If the frog had listened to Descartes, he would have concluded that it was ingrained in the scorpion’s head to bite, regardless of the fact that it would cost him his life too. I don’t remember what I was thinking when I placed those emergency keys in the safe, but I take responsibility for doing something so destructively simple minded. I have power over my thoughts and over my actions. Somehow, I have to get better at both 😊.

Currently I am reading, “Down The Great Unknown” by John Wesley Powell. It’s about his 1869 Journey down the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon.

I just finished, “Wheelmen” by Vaness O’Connell & Reed Albergotti. It’s about Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France and the doping that all the cyclist try to hide from race officials. The race lasts for 3 weeks and covers 3,000 miles. I gave it 3 stars.

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