Wasting Time

Don’t waste your time always searching for
those wasted years
Face up … make your stand
And realise you’re living in the golden years

—Wasted Years, Iron Maiden

It was absolutely gorgeous this weekend—mid seventies, cloudless skies, and a gentle breeze.

I am in California.

The funny thing is, I almost didn’t go outside. (I say almost because I did force myself on Saturday.) I spent quite a bit of time sleeping (which was nice), and a considerable amount of time writing (which was nice), and even made myself a salad for dinner (which was nice). But it started me thinking about time, how much (or how little) of it I have, and what I choose to do with my days.

View from Castle Rock National Park.

View from Castle Rock National Park.

See, while I’m here in California, for the first time in ten years I have weekends off. There’s a part of me that doesn’t know what to do with so much free time, but there’s equally a part of me that knows exactly what I want to do with that time—and I’m not doing it.

Writing is time-consuming, difficult and exhausting. Even if I don’t sleep in, by the time I get to sit down to type, coffee at my side, it’s nearly ten or eleven in the morning. If I write for several hours, then have a nap, suddenly it feels like most of the day is gone. On Saturday I felt genuinely productive, because I got May’s article done for Girl Who Reads, but Sunday felt a little different: I wrote my stuff. I actually worked on The Redemption of Erâth, writing new content, for the first time in over a year.

And I ought to feel good about that, but I kind of sort of don’t. And the reason I don’t is because I spent all day indoors, watching the sun move across the sky and thinking that I really ought to be out for a walk.

California woods.

California woods.

I did manage that on Saturday. Although I didn’t get my ass outside until 3:00 PM, I drove out to Castle Rock National Park, and actually had a great time walking and climbing big rocks. I got back around 7:00 PM, so it was a short day, but it felt wonderful. I wish I’d done something similar on Sunday, but I didn’t.

Coming from a somewhat more variable climate, it feels wrong to waste a beautiful day. Back in New Jersey, the days that are warm but not hot, pollen isn’t everywhere and the humidity is below 95%, are few and far between. It feels unnatural not to take advantage of the outdoors on such a day.

But even if such days are more common on the west coast, I can’t help but feel that I wasted my time writing instead of being outside. The irony, of course, is that had I gone outside I’d feel like I wasted prime writing time.

A solitary rock flower.

A solitary rock flower.

I think the solution is probably to plan my days a little better—go out in the morning and write in the afternoon, or something like that—but I’m a terrible planner. It just feels like there isn’t enough time in the world for everything I want to do. If I could sleep for twelve hours a day, then have another twenty-four for everything else, life would be swell. But the world doesn’t work like that, and every day that goes by is a day I’ll never get back.

So instead, I need to stop worrying about the wasted years, and make the most of the golden time I have before me now.

Wish me luck!


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