I often write about the need to use our limited time wisely. I am very aware of how every moment that passes is forever gone. That moment places me that much closer to my grave. Yet I often wonder just how the wisely use the limited time I have. I often lament how much of my life has gone into video games, television, and other entertainment. But we can’t always spend our time doing something “constructive.”
I’ve come up with a solution and a definition. The wise use of time entails either or both of 2 factors: self enrichment or other enrichment.
We can ask ourselves this: does spending my time doing this enrich myself or another?
But what is enrichment? Spending our time richly doesn’t mean we have to be writing, teaching, learning, or other things we consider enriching. A moment spent laughing is a rich moment. A moment where someone next to you smiles warmly is a rich moment.
We can have rich moments playing video games or watching television if such makes us laugh and happy. However, we have to be careful of what we consume during these moments. If we laugh at someone trolling another person on a game or at violent, hurtful television show, we are not experiencing a rich moment. Our time isn’t being used wisely.
Rich moments are gentle moments of appreciation and joy. Living with awareness is always the wise use of time; even if that moment is simply walking to the restroom. Every peaceful moment we spend with a loved one is a wise moment. Really, using time wisely involves living with the awareness that the moment is passing and taking joy in the fact you are experiencing that moment.
I often feel bad about so much time “wasted” playing video games. I think I could better use my time learning a second language, blogging, programming, drawing, gardening, and my other hobbies. But I don’t allow video games to keep me from my other hobbies or people I care about. I play the games with compassion toward those I play online with. Although I am not doing anything with the moment, because I seek to play in ways that might bring happiness to others I am still using my time wisely.
Using time wisely is matter of living compassionately and using time mindfully. I knowingly play video games a certain period of time. I carefully watch a movie that doesn’t disturb me. Using time wisely is about living with awareness in the everyday things we do. It is about doing one thing at a time with our full attention. When I sit and talk with my girlfriend, I only sit and talk with her. My mind is focused entirely on her. When I play a video game, my mind is entirely focused on the game.
We can’t do anything about the sad fact we will all die. Every moment that passes is forever gone; we are each that much closer to death. Knowing this helps us use our time more mindfully and with conscious choice. Wisely using time starts with awareness of our own mortality despite how uncomfortable being aware of our own death is.