Thursday, April 7, 2011

HOw are you using your time?

An excerpt from
Simple Truths of Life
by Linda Ellis
I've learned that watches and clocks
may someday stand still...
but the time that they measure?
It never will!

960 Minutes. According to my calculations and my current schedule, that's how many minutes, approximately, averaged, that I spend awake out of the 1,440 minutes contained within each "day." Therefore, I strongly consider each of them to be MY minutes and they belong to no one but me. I, alone, have the choice where and with whom I choose to share my minutes and what situations or emotions are (or aren't) worthy of utilizing these precious commodities.

When applicable, I find myself repeating the phrase: "Choose how you use." Just as you ask yourself before making a purchase, "Is this really worth my money?" ask yourself before engaging in negativity or criticism, "Is this really worth my minutes?" Before you start worrying about something that may never materialize, ask yourself, "Is it worthy of my minutes?"

Today, we watch how we would spend 960 dollars more carefully than how we would spend the same amount of minutes, our daily ration of time, though the latter is far more precious to behold and should be budgeted with the utmost attention to detail. Instead, often we'll spend our 960 minutes as though they were recyclable or in endless supply.

When you lay your head down tonight and preview in your mind how you spent your allotted 960 minutes, which words will best describe the answer? Did you share your minutes with contentment, laughter and joy or did you choose to share too much of this finite resource today with anger, resentfulness and aggravation?

A good example of my new thought process was played out the other day in the parking lot of my local grocery store. A woman (dialing her cell phone) ignored a stop sign and pulled directly in front of my car. With a dexterity that would have made Mario Andretti envious, I swerved and somehow missed hitting her SUV. Afterwards, however, when she should have chosen to express gratitude, I turned and noticed her hand gestures, which unmistakably and vehemently expressed sentiments quite the opposite. My blood pressure rose rapidly, but through gritted teeth, I repeated to myself silently, "Choose how you use...choose how you use."

I chose to continue to drive forward, unresponsive to her actions. I'm not going to fib and say I didn't spend five or ten minutes in anger or distress over the incident because I certainly did. However, I then let it go. I let go. I did not let it fester and eat up more minutes than it should have. The situation simply wasn't worthy of using up my minutes.

I say use your minutes wisely; don't let others dictate how you spend them. This is not to say you should quit your job today, but just remember than your minutes are completely non-refundable; you can't buy more, you can't borrow someone else's and you can't get them back once they are gone.

If only the rules stated that when we reach 90 years of age, we could simply write a letter to the "Life Customer Service Department" stating, "In 2008, I spend 10,950 minutes filled with aggravation and frustration. Since the customer is always right, I am officially requesting those misspent minutes be added back to my life's account. I will await your confirmation. Thank you."

I've often thought about the cell-phone company commercials where they say their calling plan is better than the competitor's plan because their minutes "roll over." Wouldn't it be wonderful if life worked that way; if we could only use the minutes of the day we'd like and let the others roll over into the next day, week or month? But we all know that life's "calling plan" doesn't offer rollover minutes and our only option is to use them or lose them.

Life has its moments and unfortunately, there are times when sadness and despair are inescapable. However, 30 minutes per day spend in avoidable discontent equates to more than one week per year from your life; seven days, which could have instead been lived...enjoyed...relished and celebrated. It's your choice.

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