Well-motivated and dynamic people don’t waste time. They prioritise. Others waste time. That’s how it seems. A highly ambitious father tells me he makes his son study five hours a day. If he didn’t the child would be playing games or watching YouTube videos. Those tennis stars and virtuoso pianists, the Olympic-record holders, the massive novelists, the penetrative psycho-analysts, they’ve all spent time well – to get where they get. Why, even the Messi’s and Ronaldo’s of this world have been at it from an early age – out in the street or on the ramshackle pitch. In central America, my coach even drove over a soccer pitch and through a goal while enthusiasts kicked that ball and cheered our coach’s effort at throwing itself through the white posts. They’re practising for hours out in the hot sun, those future Ronaldo’s.
Yes, the good guys don’t waste time. If you’ve got extreme or even non-extreme talent, you sharpen it to life-threatening proportions. In the meantime you understand you’re not doing anything else, not wasting time reading useless novellas, watching crappy YouTube videos, following ephemeral TV shows…and other such.
BUT of course the reality is different. Most of us are wasting time, finding that right path, getting distracted, frittering our hours away on the mediocre. Why, only last month a guy I respect posted he was closing with Twitter – for him a complete waste of space.
I belong to book clubs and such and I am amazed at how many seemingly successful romance novels there are out there. I can tell them without reading titles. They have handsome, well-toned hulks on the covers usually holding beautiful heroines in lascivious clasps. Or there are the hundred new publications telling me to get confident. Or the mysteries. Or the thrillers. So I need to say that when I read such books, I don’t quite get the sensation I’m in touch with creative genius…but when I read “Pride and Prejudice”, “Crime and Punishment”, “Heart of Darkness”, and that elite ilk, I do…get the feeling I’m in touch.
You may not agree with me, of course, but there’s selection to be made, otherwise we do waste time…but if wasting time is part of living and pleasurable, why shouldn’t we waste it – just a bit? Look at the little children of this earth! They get immense pleasure out of stones and pebbles. They see spirits in statues. Animists and pantheists they waste endless time. When they’re not nose to nose with an ant or spider, they will lie in front of tablets and “Little Johnnie” away the hours without the slightest idea that telling lies and eating sugar are not recommended.
Yes, if time wasting is so bad, then why do we do it so much? And please remember the tramp-poet* who asked us to consider:
“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?”
*W. H. Davies