waste really bothers me. and i mean really, really bothers me. i don’t like throwing away half-eaten meals or old clothes. and i don’t like all of the extra packaging used on my favorite snacks. and it kind of breaks my heart a little bit every time customers send their untouched meals back because it didn’t come out right. what a luxury. the food gets thrown away.
i am even more concerned about wasting my life.
as part of my graduate school requirements, i have to work at my internship for 550 hours this semester. 550 hours of my life is a lot of time. i like to think of time as a bargain. 38 hours of work a week plus homework time in exchange for getting closer to my dream job. 12 additional hours of my life per week as a waitress is bargained away for having money to go out to eat with my friends, chai tea to keep me going, and surprise gifts for my boyfriend. 3 hours of time with my mentee per week is bargained for the life lessons i learn with her. your time here is limited. every job, task, responsibility, choice, and commitment is an exchange of your life. really, think about it.
thankfully, i absolutely love every second of working with people in recovery from addiction, spending the afternoons with my mentee, and enjoy the people i work with, or else i would be wasting my life.
today was meaningful because i thought about waste. you can’t recycle time. and out of all the precious materials i hate to see be thrown away, life is the most important of them all. i realize that we all just can’t quit our jobs, and unfortunately, we can’t like every second of every little thing we are required to do. but if you don’t enjoy what you are doing or if your commitments are making you unhappy, perhaps you need to make a bargain. for example, i bargain my mondays. homework all night on monday in exchange for a self-promise to do something fun on fridays. i bargain the amount of time i spend at my internship for my happiness. the more i am there, the happier i am. but most of all, i’m trying not to waste my life. it sounds a little dramatic, but maybe it needs to be. if the duration of our life is measured by time, what we do with our time is what we do with our life.
today, i sat in the office and listened to a 57 year old man express his regrets over spending the greater part of 40 years addicted to a number of substances. ‘i m old. and there are so many things i didn’t do. what a waste,’ he said.
but its never too late to start over.
i would like to think that you wouldn’t throw away your brand new, expensive, favorite material items. i would not expect to find diamonds, iphones, ipads, computers, cars, etc. casually thrown away in the trash. but figuratively speaking, how much of your life–of your being–would you see in the garbage? how much time do you spend doing something you hate? how much talent are you giving up for a week’s worth of television shows? how much energy are you donating towards things that do not really matter?
today was meaningful because somedays i want to sit and stalk facebook/twitter/pinterest. and i am okay with bargaining a little bit of my life for that. but on todays like today, my life was full of meaning because i do not want to give it all away. i also realized that it is a choice.
i can choose to take my leftovers home and eat them later. i can donate my hardly-used clothes. i can eat my less than perfect meal knowing that other people in the world don’t have the opportunity to complain about what they get to eat. and most importantly, i can choose to use my life. to do what i want. to do what i love. to spend it with the people who mean the most to me. i can choose to spend my life happy, smiling, laughing. i can choose to let the little things go, i can choose my perspective on the day. i can choose what i want to do with my life.
yes it is cliche. but i also truly mean it: life is a gift. don’t throw it in the trash. and especially don’t waste it.