The Art of Wasting Time
Written by
Karen Devaney
July 2014
Written by
Karen Devaney
July 2014

Blog Wasting Time; A lost Art


I deliberated on what to write this week; gazing out the window I felt more like watching the wind rattle the leaves in the neighbor’s maple tree then writing.  I simply wanted to waste some time ogling at the garden or the butterfly who had flitted over to the flowers.  It struck me at that very moment to write about time and the wasting of it.  It is a lost art these days as we can work into the wee hours of the night stay productive practically in our sleep.  What is that doing to our culture let alone our psyche? Jamming it up, clogging it to the point we may become robotic if we don’t get back to some good ole time wasting.

Unlike surfing or para gliding or downhill skiing, wasting time entails no costly equipment.  You may need a chair of some sort but the sand, grass, or dirt are suitable substitutes (another alternative is climb a tree and perch on a branch).  And if you’re in a currency crunch, no sweat, wasting time is usually free unless at a café where you may have to buy a cup of tea or coffee before settling down for a time squandering session.   Wasting time does require practice sort of like yoga a level of dedication is involved.  Unlike religion there is no need to proselytize although if a movement arises testimonials would be appreciated but not at the risk of compromising your time wasting routine.

There are two types of wasting time; a good and a bad.  Waiting in a horrific line at the DMV to pay a ticket that you forgot about and has now quadrupled in price—is bad time wasting. This type catapults blood pressures, frays nerves, and usually makes most of us grumpy and irritable.  Good time wasting leaves you feeling relaxed refreshed.  Watching a spontaneous soccer game in the streets (does anyone do that anymore?) or staring at squirrels chasing one another or observing rain droplets on a pane of glass are examples of beneficial wasting.   Once you get in the habit of wasting time you will develop your own favorites perhaps you will tweet them or create a Facebook page for us to like.

Some people despise wasting time and see it as an offense to God and state—many of these types live in New York City or L.A. where every nano minute counts.  Sleep and time wasting is for the dead.  There are also people that are hyper vigilant about order and cleanliness.  There are toilets to scrub and mirrors to be wiped clothes to fold and inspections to complete.  It’s uncomfortable for people that believe busy-ness is unparalleled to waste a pittance of time.  Others claim they feel “guilty” if they let time pass without cramming it with an endless to do list perhaps a vestige of the godliness belief.  (I’ve read that on the seventh day God rested—hmmm sounds like time wasting to me).

There is help for those that find wasting time similar to nails clawing a chalk board.  I am creating a manifesto for folks to read listing all the benefits of dismantling manic schedules.  The New York Times ran an article a few months ago about the need for 7-9 hours of sleep daily; most Americans get a measly six.  I’m contacting them to see if they can run this piece as well. Wasting time differs from sleep as the time spent is far less but similar in that it rejuvenates our brains.  It allows the mind to wonder to drift like passing clouds with no intention or destination.  It is perfect for relishing nature—to notice the musky scent of dirt or a subtle breeze against your face. I’ve gotten some of my best inspirations after a good time wasting session.  With the sizzle of warm summer days turn off your devices (yes including your phone—they will call back and you can read the latest tweets later) hoard some of your own time and melt into the arms of wasting .     




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