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The Power of Time

23rd February 2023

‘Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time’. (Marthe Troly Curtin)


HOM: Responding with wonderment and awe/Gathering data through all our senses

The quotation for this week, though often attributed to Bertrand Russell or John Lennon, can also be accredited to Marthe Troly Curtin, a lesser known 20th century author. It may have even earlier roots; however, it is a quote that continues to carry meaning to those who read it and has a message worth reflecting upon in a world in which we are often intent on filling every moment of the day.

The main question, of course, is how can time be considered wasted if we are enjoying what we are doing? Some may say watching Netflix with your friends is a waste of time but if you’re having fun, then is it a waste of time? Some may say working long hours on school project is a waste of time (surely not!), but what if you absolutely hate it?

Perhaps the only time we waste is the time we spend doing things that won’t ever add to our enjoyment in life. Working long hours on a school project might not be enjoyable now, but if you’re doing it so you can have the pleasure of having done your best and achieved in the future, then it’s not a waste of time.

Of course, if you’re spending your time watching Netflix or surfing the web just to pass the time and it does nothing for your enjoyment level either now or in the future, then you probably are wasting your time, especially if what you’re doing will actually decrease your enjoyment in the future as well. What we spend time doing today can affect what options we’ll have in the future, so we need to choose wisely.

And then there are the lessons we can learn from cats! Philosopher John Gray recently wrote a book called ‘Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life’. He writes, “cats live for the sensation of life, not for something they might achieve or not achieve”. He continues, “if we attach ourselves too heavily to some overarching purpose we’re losing the joy of life – which is a wonderful thing.” Cats really know how to live in the moment and experience each and every sensation. They also know how to “sleep for the joy of sleeping”, something with which teenagers may empathise.

While we certainly do need to use our time wisely we should perhaps also take our lessons from cats, the ultimate time wasters who seem to have the capacity to enjoy each day as it comes and who like nothing more than to stretch out, bask in the sunshine and have a restorative sleep. Not time wasting at all.

Christine Crossley