You can make it, and you can waste it. It makes us nervous, excited, sad, and happy.
As 2016 starts to gain momentum, new resolutions and new plans appear. Although we may not fully adhere to all of them, the process is a valuable tool to assess where we are and what we desire. As a result, some of the more reflective questions in life may surface. What should we do with our time? What constitutes the best use of our time?
The flow of time can feel like it is sweeping us along sometimes. With a greater awareness of what the rest of the world is up to, it is easy to imagine many people making far better use of their time than we are. Whereas ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ was previously aimed at our neighbours in the past, social media lifestyle glamourising can feel like others are far more productive than us. However, it would be unwise to assume someone in an exotic location does not have similar day to day issues, or does not cast envious glances towards aspects of our lives.
Bertrand Russell once said, “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time”. Procrastination is frequently viewed as an enemy of sorts, and admittedly, it can be a poor use of time. However, there are occasions when switching off or distracting ourselves with meaningless fun is paramount to helping us function properly. In fact, happiness researcher Paul Dolan advocates finding a suitable balance between activities of purpose and pleasure to optimise our happiness.
Assuming an educational journey all the way through university, the first 21-22 years of life require less thought than those after. Beyond then, the choices become less clear-cut. Perhaps it is a generational thing, but there does seem to be a gentle shift away from finding a job and towards finding a vocation. This would involve an activity which stimulates genuine excitement as well as providing appropriate financial support. The classic gap year 'search for yourself' has always been one of the de-facto options with which to discover a new calling. There often seems to be a vision of some hidden talent within us which we simply need the right environment to unearth. Unfortunately, this rarely occurs in the way that we have envisaged. Sometimes, the best way is to simply try new things and see if some of them quicken our pulse! Alternatively, we could do worse than to follow this advice:
“Respond to every call that excites your spirit” Rumi