🐾 rigby

Growing Up and Wasting Time

I feel like part of growing older is learning to be comfortable wasting time.
As a kid, I would be antsy about perceived wastes of time. But I wasn’t impatient, I just fundamentally morally objected to these things that I didn’t think were important.

And so I waited until I was an adult, with the goal that, when in charge of my own time, I would be able to spend it doing only meaningful things.

Nota bene: I’m referring here is “wasted time” from a kid’s perspective. Workouts and washing dishes and church services and the time spent sitting at the table staring around the room while you wait for others to finish eating. As a kid I would have fought to eradicate boredom, I suppose.

But I’ve kind of given up that fight; I’ve conceded that most of my time is unimportant, that most of my life is unimportant; that you can drive yourself crazy if you try to do only meaningful things. Like I don’t know if there are enough interesting or meaningful or motivated things in the world for me to enjoy them every second of the day. I wonder if the moments of boredom give significance to the moments of non-boredom. I wonder if you get desensitized to novelty so that you constantly need more of it.

And yet, I can’t shake the conviction that my life is meaningful, that to throw away even a small part of my time to the void would be a sin. That not caring is the only and most destructive vice. One of my core beliefs is that everything is infinitely interesting. Everything is infinitely interesting.

So I think there lies the secret. Time spent working out or doing dishes is time glorified, far more than time spent chugging entertainment-made-liquid from the spout of novelty. Even though the latter seems more interesting, more inspired, from the point of view of the child, it is really the real waste of time. The child is forced to look for the interesting things in the dining room, when they’ve finished before the adults. The adult has to chose to look for the interesting in the mundane, and very many adults don’t.


Matthias on 2023-01-27

When I was a kid, it was really my grandparents who enforced the rule that we weren’t allowed to leave the table until everyone there had finished eating. I would wolf down my food with a growing kid’s appetite, and then be forced to sit there for hours (or so it felt) while the adults at the other end of the table slowly talked and leisurely made their way through their food.

Matthias on 2023-01-27

Recently I had the opportunity to eat dinner with my grandparents again, just the three of us. Similarly, I devoured my food, and then waited as they ate with what felt like agonizing slowness. None of us were super talkative, I really did sit and stare at the wall for minutes as they finished eating. But unlike when I was a kid, I didn’t begrudge them that in the slightest. It’s such a contrast from my normal life. When eating alone, I waste no time, no time at all, between when I finish and when I get up from the table—why should I? The pace that I live my life was just so shockingly different from the pace of that moment of nothingness.

Matthias on 2023-01-27

I really want to embrace my childhood, not reject it. But I control my own time, I don’t know if that means rebelling against the slow-paced, boring, system created by the adults, or if it means savoring those dull moments in which your mind is true to freely wander—those moments that made me the child that I was.

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