Wasted time, we do it all the time. We fritter away a moment, hour, entire day.

Time is a valuable and limited commodity. Each of us has a limited amount to spend as we choose. And once time is gone, it’s gone. There’s no going back to five minutes ago to redo or re-experience. Time is rigid that way. Unless you are Marty McFly and in possession of a souped-up DeLorean.

There’s only right now. In writing and reading that sentence, a moment was spent and we’ve since moved on to the next, and the next and so on.

It might seem depressing or not.

Realizing each moment is all we’ve got isn’t the depressing part, it shouldn’t be.

What is depressing is not realizing, and living each day and moment as though it is no different from the one before or after until they all blur together and nothing stands out.

Now, there’s a concept.

I’m not saying every moment of every day for the rest of our lives should be filled with lollipops, unicorns, infinite insight, and all things bright and beautiful. That would be impossible.

But we do have moments that are better than others. And when we do, perhaps we should take note, realize, grasp, savor, and be aware of the goodness surrounding us so we can remember and revisit that state of being at a later time.

Conversely, we can recognize, discern and be aware of negative moments for what they are: moments. Lingering over negativity — and let’s face it, we all do —  literally robs us of an inverse moment we could spend revisiting a joyous occurrence or, better yet, creating and living a new one to add to our arsenal.

Hurt and pain are real. It’s oversimplifying to say we can get over it in a moment, minutes, even days or years. But being cognizant of how we choose to feel and what we choose to focus on can aid in the journey to positivity.

Joy and pain are basic states of being. They are undeniable parts of life. And while we all probably wish for a little more happiness and less angst, neither is a crime against time, wasting it is.

And we do that, not when we are feeling, but when we are not.

The new plugged-in tendencies of our culture provide a potential sinkhole of wasted time. When we sit in a room with people and no one is talking because they are staring at their screens, moments are lost.

Our devices make us more productive and that’s good because busy is the new black. Multitasking is a survival strategy. At least it feels that way at my house. But multitasking can be a time crime because when we are doing five things at once, we are so focused on the action surrounding and consuming our to-do list that we fail to realize, grasp or discern the moments as they occur: chatting with a person instead of texting, giving someone a real live smile instead of an emoji, putting the to-do list away to chat with your spouse after work or your son after school, and the cashier who tells you to “Have a nice day” and seems to mean it are moments in time and choices we make.

Mundane? Sometimes yes, but if we don’t find meaning in the mundane then, life becomes rather meaningless. And finding joy in the mundane starts with paying attention to it.

Not paying attention, now there’s where the waste comes in.



Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. More columns are available at the Slices of Life page on Facebook.